Wednesday, 25 March 2009

ScrewMP3 Letters

When I was in high school I started to read C.S Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. I didn't finish it, as I kept on getting confused with the genre and context. The book is a hyphetical one sided letter exchange between a mentor demon (Screwtape) and his pupil (Wormwood). We get to read the mentors side of the conversation. Throughout the book I kept on getting confused with the advice giving as it is bad advice told positively, and every reference to "the enemy" is a reference to God.

Reciently I got my hands on The Screwtape Letters in mp3 formate, read by non-other than John Cleese. His reading of the letters is done very well. It's expressive and funny. He plays the part of an administrive demon quite well...

The letters revolve around an English man around the time of World War II who gets converted and Wormwood is asking Screwtape how he is to proceed to get this English man to lose faith. Lewis, in the form of Screwtape is able to explain great contradictions in human nature and how it is possible to pervert something good to something bad. These things include religion, patriotism, war, pascism, fashion, humour, relationships, desires, pride etc... Lewis is able to take an objectice step back from culture and then mock it to show how contradicting idea prevail and we just accept them. There are little things like a side mention of us considering mustaches unsightly and even "un-natural" and others such ideas as our concept of time and that we can actually posses it.

Throughout the book, prayer is held as the best defense against demons, and self-righteous pride is shown how easily it can be encouraged in religion.

The last audio file I listened to was Screwtape Proposes a Toast, which is an added chapter that has Screwtape addressing a series of new tempting demons. His address isn't based around a spercif person, but a general critqu of Democracy, or more specifially the idea that "I am as good as you". This was also a good listen.

Overall I don't think I picked up on every idea, as they sometimes come quite fast, but I really did enjoy listening to this book. At the end there is a mention of limbo, which I disagree with, along with some of the infastrucute of the demon world that is described, but it is after all a fictional story so some of it is writes license.

It is possible to do a Google search for these audio files, but I don't think they are in the public domain...

Update: The whole book is online and the Sydney Anglicans link to it, so it must be ok.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favourite books. It does take a while to get into it, or get the context and continually reversing everything to understand who he is and what he is attacking, but a really enjoyable read.