The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil
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4.4 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0006280609
Manufacturer : Fount|
Release data : 02 February, 1998
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Lewis' Morality Play
This book was assigned reading when I was in 8th grade at a Catholic school. I remember I had no appreciation for it whatsoever at the time. I couldn't relate to the protagonist or his travails in wartime England.
Perhaps one needs a little time in this world to appreciate the delicious simplicity of Lewis' allegory. Having read it recently I was struck by the wisdom, strength and genuine spiritualism this book exudes.
One needn't, as commented upon elsewhere, be a believer to appreciate this work. Lewis never tries to foist any doctrinaire agenda upon the reader. Neither is he didactic. All that comes across (to this reader, at least) is a sense of hard-won wisdom. It offers some hints about how we might find a bit of peace and happiness on this earth if we are willing to think a little less selfishly and are able to set our powerful egos aside for awhile.
I wish that those readers who wasted their money on The Celestine Prophecy and thought it provided wonderful spiritual insight would turn their attention Lewis' way. Here is the matter simply stated, without some wayward attempts at new-age jingoism.
Demons make the best moralists
This is an imaginative tour de force, full of humour and goodness. For a book of informal moral psychology, teaching on human vice and virtue and their part in human well-being, the form is very original. We have before us a series of letters from one senior devil to his nephew, a tempter lower in the infernal lowerarchy, written with subtlety but with crystalline lucidity as well.
The subject of the book is not only morality in the sense of good and evil, but the 'moral' in the sense of the human person, its integrity and well-being. And because of this one does not need to read this work beside Lewis' 'Mere Christianity' (as believers really should), but can enjoy the fiction or allegory while at the same time revelling in wonderfully rendered insights into the human soul or mind.
This work not only teaches but it entertains, and it does both simultaneously without letting the one impinge on the other. It is Lewis' answer to Chesterfield's letters. A joy to read.
...is next to godliness
The Screwtape Letters place christianity, and religion in general, firmly in the context of the twentieth century. The evil versus good battle is fought by a bumbling fool who is conceited enough to think that he knows best, and human (if that is the right word) enough to believe that he is doing evreything possible, and doing it correctly, whilst the world conspires against him.
The book is, however, as much a philosophical novel as anything else, as Lewis seeks both to entertain and to reach a conclusion to one of man's greatest questions. Of course, we don't have to accept his conclusion if we don't want to - that is still philosophy's greatest virtue over science. This does not matter, however. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is fun to read and whether you are looking for spiritual enlightenment, or just a good book, you could do a lot worse than this.
Being fairly short, you'll finish it quite quickly, but this effect is amplified by the ease with which you begin to read the book, and the difficulty with which you put it down.