- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Revised edition (June 3, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684831171
- ISBN-13: 978-0684831176
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2,165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Screwtape Letters: Includes Screwtape Proposes a Toast Paperback – June 3, 1996
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Who among us has never wondered if there might not really be a tempter sitting on our shoulders or dogging our steps? C.S. Lewis dispels all doubts. In The Screwtape Letters, one of his bestselling works, we are made privy to the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, tempting his "patient" away from God.
Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings. On the other hand, the goal of the Creator is to woo us unto himself or to transform us through his love from "tools into servants and servants into sons." It is the dichotomy between being consumed and subsumed completely into another's identity or being liberated to be utterly ourselves that Lewis explores with his razor-sharp insight and wit.
The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings. --Patricia Klein
About the Author
C.S. Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities who wrote more than thirty books in his lifetime, including The Chronicles of Narnia, the Space Trilogy, and Mere Christianity. He died in 1963.
Top customer reviews
Don't worry about reading about the devil, as I was concerned with when I started to read it. But the more you read it the better and closer relationship you can develop with God, which of course is what Mr. Lewis has intended.
The author is pure genius. I have read Mere Christianity, The problem with pain amd A Grief Observed. I have also read his space trilogy Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength; which are all wonderful.
Word of warning, A Grief Observed is a difficilt, depressing book. DO NOT READ IT if you are grieving about anything or one.
I hope this helps and helps people discover the genius, as I have, of C. S. Lewis.
During a series of instructional letters Screwtape gives step by step instruction to leading this human being down the path to damnation. Wormwood being an inexperienced tempter is sometimes chastised and at other times encouraged in his demonic antics. Screwtape shows to one and all that demonic acts can be cleverly disguised and will lead the faltering human to continue bad acts but without the person feeling any guilt or sense that he is doing something wrong which will lead him down below instead of high above.
Screwtape gets aggravated when Wormwood takes the easy ways of temptation which shows laziness and lack of attention to demonic detail. The forces of good are called the “enemy” in which Screwtape has much respect for and inspires Screwtape to be even more devious and hard on his young trainees such as Wormwood. His letters showed herein reinforces the forces of the devil are still very much among us.
The only reason it was given four stars is because the book is so terribly and cheaply made! The pages look like recycled paper and the colorful front page online is very misleading of the book's quality of print which is very poor!
The Screwtape Letters was my introduction to C.S. Lewis's writing, and I enjoyed it very much. The "letters" are a fine combination of humor and gravity as Lewis addresses serious theological matters. Lewis was a very erudite man with a writing style that's not for a casual read, but it's well worth the time.