The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation, and triumph over it, ever written.
(P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Lewis' satire is a Christian classic....[his] take on human nature is as on-target as it was when the letters were first published in 1941." (Library Journal)
In the interests of full disclosure, let me say that I love C. S. Lewis. His apologetics helped my wife and I keep our sanity in the Episcopal Church and he was among the galaxy of writers who lead us toward the Catholic Church. His scholarly works are a delight to anyone interested in medieval literature. His slim guide to Paradise Lost is indispensible to a satisfying understanding of that poem. Oddly, I have never dipped into his fiction to any great extent, though I did have a third grade teacher who read us chapters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
So when I didn’t enjoy Screwtape as much as I thought I would, I was perplexed. How could I not revel in Lewis’ customarily incisive separation of modern misperceptions from the ancient perceptions, insanity from sanity, the comfortable lie from the uncomfortable truth? Fittingly, it was Lewis himself who explained my dilemma.
Truth be told, he didn’t much like this book either. His confession appears in his short introduction to the last chapter of this recording, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”. This exercise in what he calls “diabolical ventriloquism” proved to be something he could write with the greatest of ease, but with the least enjoyment. “Though it was easy to twist one’s mind into the diabolical attitude” he writes, “it was not fun—or nor fun for long.” The “strain” of writing this book produced what he calls “a sort of spiritual cramp”. “It almost smothered me before I was done. It would have smothered my readers if I had prolonged it.”
Now I didn’t feel so bad. My reactions to Screwtape’s correspondence tallied with their author’s. I, too, felt that spiritual cramp. An overwhelming sense of the relentlessness of sin, an airless, trapped feeling that verges on claustrophobia. While Lewis was aware of this problem with his book, he was even more painfully aware of his inability to solve it.
Ideally, he admits, the book should have included Arch-angelical advice to the “patient’s” guardian angel. “Without this, the picture of human life is lopsided.” (A fine example of British understatement, that.) The problem is one of style. “[F]or the style would really be part of the content. Mere advice would be no good. Every sentence would have to smell of heaven”. In today’s world it was “a book no one could write”, for “even if you could write prose like Traherne’s, you wouldn’t be allowed to, for the canon of ‘functionalism’ has disabled literature for half its functions.”
A typically telling insight, combining faith and reason and scholarship and a complete and easy familiarity with the greatest writers—all delivered without pride or pomposity. All the things that make Lewis such a treasure to read and reread.
So, while I am grateful to Audible for offering this as a Daily Deal for a mere $1.95, and Ralph Cosham does a fine job as reader, I can’t give this one all the stars I thought I would. And, based on the evidence, I think Lewis would agree.
Incredible book. Highly recommended. What Lewis does in this book is unravel and expose the human being.... He shows how people think, and reveals the types of sins present in our hearts, even the sins that we are blind to. I've been a Christian for about 10 years, and I'd consider this book to be one of the few MUST READS for every believer.
This is C.S. Lewis's classic tale of the travails of an apprentice tempter as he tries to lead his charge to Perdition.
Truly original story, I listened and was in awe. If you don't know of the story, it is well worth the credit. In my top ten. A true classic.
C.S. Lewis must have been exceptionly strong to view devils as giving praise for evil doing without it taking a tool on himself. He protrays the cunning devices of the advarsary with skill. A definate re-listen.
A very solid reading of a wonderful book. I would recommend it to anyone who's a fan of C.S. Lewis and has an idea of the things he wrote other than the Chronicles of Narnia. I'm not saying anything against the Chronicles of Narnia--I love them. But for those expecting a fantasy novel, you'll not find it here.
My name is Laz O. I'm a firefighter. I enjoy listening to books on tape. I've been hooked since the first one. Enjoy!
Excellent audiobook. C.S. Lewis is reportedly one of the best Christian apologetics of the 20th century. Interestingly, the preface talks about how he came about the idea of how infernal spirits think. I thought it was original, but in Milton's Paradise Lost, that author does the same. I've listened to this book countless times. Awesome listen. The narrator speaks with an English accent, and I find myself envisioning C.S. Lewis reading it to me.
In an odd way this book should be highly recommended for any Christian. Not only is it though provoking about the work of tempters, but it gives an idea of how evil thinks and tries plan to cause one to stumble through various vices and sins. The ending in a way is somewhat historical, especially how Screwtape would scold his nephew for each failure as it gets closer to it.
Such an amazing description of how we can be fooled by the enemy, most often in subtle ways, sometimes in blatant ways. All believers should give this a hard listen and use it to strengthen our discernment.
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