December 8th, 2005 — Wordman
Perhaps predictably, some atypical venues, such as NPR, editorial departments and various Christian sects are devoting mindspace to the film release of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis. Lost in all this undeservedly grandiose commentary about the mix of religion and cinema is one of Lewis’ much better works: The Screwtape Letters.
The book contains a series of letters from an senior demon, Screwtape, to his happless nephew demon Wormwood, offering advice on how to successfully corrupt his target human, a Christian. Naturally, this work features religion far more overtly than the Narnia books. The audiobook version of this work is blessed by perfect casting, featuring John Cleese as Screwtape. Having listened to dozens of audiobooks, I’d place this perfect match between reader and material at the top of the list but, unfortunately, the sound mix on the cassette version is dreadful. It may be that the audible.com version is better.
Lewis followed up this book 17 years later with an essay entitled Screwtape Proposes a Toast.