Jason's Reviews > The Screwtape Letters, and Screwtape Proposes a Toast

The Screwtape Letters, and Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Apr 21, 2011

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Read in April, 2011

The Screwtape Letters/Screwtape Proposes a Toast is one of those cases where reading as the author intended is, quite simply, not as entertaining as reading at face value. Here we have a pair of devils, an uncle and nephew, trading letters concerning attempts at damning an Englishman in what I'd guess from the references to German bombing, the time period running up to and during World War Two. The devil's strategies largely figure in terms of lack of self knowledge, or perverting moral sentiments.

The obvious satire angle looking to lambast lukewarm Christianity or confused secular moral thought has perhaps not aged well? I find the book hanging on the morals of a fussy bore; he'd probably find me skipping with a smile down that good-intentioned path to hell. I don't care to play at superstition, but I found the discussion in A Toast concerning the "leveling" of education (written in the late 50's) worth a cynical smile. Go figure, at least we can agree on something, with the reservation that things have probably remained quite similar both before and after the writing. Golden ages are illusions; the good old days were hideously unfair and stupid as well.

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