Presentation on theme: "By C. S. Lewis... Dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien Joel D. Heck."— Presentation transcript:
by C. S. Lewis... Dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien Joel D. Heck
Address at King’s College, University of London, on Dec. 14, 1944: “The Devil I shall leave strictly alone. The association between him and me in the public mind has already gone quite as deep as I wish…”
In 1916, Lewis read Letters from Hell (1866) by Danish author Valdemar Adolph Thisted. Confessions of a Well-Meaning Woman (1922), Stephen McKenna A letter to his brother Warren, July 20, 1940 First title: From One Devil to Another Thirty-one serialized letters in The Guardian, 1941 Lewis once said of David Lindsay’s use of names in A Voyage to Arcturus, “perhaps Screwtape owes something to them” (Collected Letters, II, 753). Paid about $1,500 for the letters Royalties went to the Agape Fund for helping the poor, particularly clergy widows Ashley Sampson and Geoffrey Bles
Like Mere Christianity... During World War Two “The Battle of Britain History Site”: “The Battle of Britain”: Hmmm... Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and Narnia, all born in the war!
February 1942 publication First edition of 2,000 copies sold out before publication More than two million copies since (Since taking over its publication in 2001, HarperSanFrancisco has sold almost one million copies of the trade paperback alone.) Still on the Publisher’s Weekly top ten list of religious paperback bestsellers Now on audio CD, narrated by John Cleese Randy Alcorn, Lord Foulgrin's Letters, Revised edition, Sisters, OR: Multnomah, ISBN Peter Kreeft, The Snakebite Letters. Ignatius Press, 1993.
On Wednesday, January 31, 2006, it was announced that Walden Media had bought the rights to turn the book into a feature film. Walden Media is the same company that previously developed Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. They will work with Fox-based Ralph Winter Productions and Bristol Bay Productions. To be co-produced by Ralph Winter and Douglas Gresham
One reader: Since Screwtape did not hold a degree higher than a B.S., he recommended that some “grateful university now welcome him in gradum Doctoris in Satanitate dishonoris causa.” I.e., “into the degree of Doctor in Satanism in the cause of dishonor.” (an honorary, rather than an earned, degree)
Fictional first-grade teacher, Miss Wormwood Calvin and Hobbes
Irish Rock Band from Dublin, Ireland Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., and David Evans In the animated video to U2’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” a copy of The Screwtape Letters is seen falling from Bono's hand.
A later essay with the scene set in Hell at the annual dinner of the Tempters’ Training College for young devils. First published in 1959 in an article in the Saturday Evening Post. Speaker: Dr. Slubgob
It was distasteful to write! Why? Preface to “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”: “I was often asked or advised to add to the original ‘Screwtape Letters’, but for many years I felt not the least inclination to do it. Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment.”
“The ease came, no doubt, from the fact that the device of diabolical letters, once you thought of it, exploits itself spontaneously.... It would run away with you for a thousand pages if you gave it its head. But though it was easy to twist one’s mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp. The world into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness and geniality had to be excluded. It almost smothered me before I was done. It would have smothered my readers if I had prolonged it.”
“I had, moreover, a sort of grudge against my book for not being a different book which no one could write. Ideally, Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood should have been balanced by archangelical advice to the patient’s guardian angel. Without this the picture of human life is lop-sided. But who could supply the deficiency? Even if a man—and he would have to be a far better man than I—could scale the spiritual heights required, what ‘answerable style’ could he use?”
“I had thought of having letters to the guardian angel from an archangel side by side with those from Screwtape to Wormwood in my Letters but funked it” (Collected Letters, III, March 14, 1943, to Harry Blamires).
“For the style would really be part of the content. Mere advice would be no good; every sentence would have to smell of Heaven. And nowadays 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. (At bottom, every ideal of style dictates not only how we should say things but what sort of things we may say.)”
“Then, as years went on and the stifling experience of writing the ‘Letters’ became a weaker memory, reflections on this and that which seemed somehow to demand Screwtapian treatment began to occur to me. I was resolved never to write another ‘Letter’. The idea of something like a lecture or ‘address’ hovered vaguely in my mind, now forgotten, now recalled, never written. Then came an invitation from The Saturday Evening Post, and that pressed the trigger.”
The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn. LUTHER The devil... The prowde spirite... Cannot endure to be mocked. THOMAS MORE Luther and More, contemporaries
Screwtape: Senior Devil Wormwood: Junior Devil The Enemy: God Our Father Below: Satan Patient: Human Tempter/Temptership Junior Tempter Under-secretary Lowerarchy: the opposite of hierarchy High Command Lower Command Temple of Fame: Heaven The Kingdom of Noise: Hell The House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters The Infernal Police Intelligence Department Training College
In a Nov letter to Jocelyn Gibb, Lewis wrote regarding the American edition of The Screwtape Letters: “In the legend [i.e. under Lewis’s drawing of Screwtape] I don’t care for Mr. after Excellency. If this can be altered without technical difficulties, wd. ‘His Infernal Excellency Under Secretary S’ be better? Or ‘Abysmal Sublimity’ etc. as at the end of Letter XXII?”
Mrs. Janie King Moore remained an atheist throughout her life and always seemed to resent Lewis’s conversion: Letter Three, “Finally, tell me something about the old lady’s religious position. Is she at all jealous of the new factor in her son’s life?” The patient’s activities on home patrol during the war mirror Lewis’s similar experiences.
David Foster Wallace’s 2006 book, The Top Ten, names The Screwtape Letters as the greatest novel in history. The Times Literary Supplement (Feb. 28, 1942): “…in so readable a fashion Mr. Lewis has contrived to say much that a distracted world greatly requires to hear.” Manchester Guardian (Feb. 24, 1942): “The book is sparkling yet truly reverent, in fact a perfect joy, and should become a classic.”
The Guardian (March 13, 1942): “[Lewis] is in earnest with his belief in devils, and as anxious to unmask their strategy against souls as our intelligence department to detect the designs of Hitler.” The Hibbert Journal (July 1942): “It is to be hoped that neither Mr. Lewis’s book, nor The Hibbert Journal containing this review, will find its way into those regions to apprise the infernal authorities of their mistake.”
C. E. M. Joad in the New Statesman and Nation (May 16, 1942): “Mr. Lewis possesses the rare gift of being able to make righteousness readable, and has produced a pretty piece of homily lit by flashes of insight.” Charles Williams in The Dublin Review (October 1942): “I allow that Mr. Lewis’s Screwtape is highly intelligent, almost too intelligent for a devil, everywhere except in the center. One of the pleasantest things in the book is his failure there, his incapacity to understand what the Enemy ‘is really up to’.”
In Time and Tide, Charles Williams begins, “My dearest Scorpuscle.” He concludes with a final paragraph: “It is a dangerous book, heavenly- dangerous. I hate it, this give-away of hell.” He signs the review, “Your sincere friend, Snigsozzle.” And he adds this menacing postscript: “You will send someone to see after Lewis?—some very clever fiend?”
“If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.” The New Yorker Leonard Bacon in The Saturday Review of Literature (April 17, 1943): “…this admirable, diverting, and remarkably original work.…There is a spectacular and satisfactory nova in the bleak sky of satire.”