Nearly two decades after the work that secured his fame as a public Christian intellectual, C.S. Lewis wrote a follow up to The Screwtape Letters. I have read that Lewis was repeatedly asked to create a Screwtape sequel, but it wasn’t until 1959 that he agreed to do so for The Saturday Evening Post. I know he struggled to write from the demonic perspective in the original WWII-era Letters, so his reluctance might be simple disinterest.
In any case, he eventually crafted another piece in Screwtape’s wretchedly academic and pretentious voice–this time as a toast instead of a letter. More than the original Screwtape Letters, perhaps, the Toast is an incisive public critique of education, social politics, and cultural shifts in worldview. I also think Screwtape Proposes a Toast gives us another angle to Lewis’ The Abolition of Man: the world behind Screwtape’s speech in 1959 is really the dystopia of “Men Without Chests.” I think it is a critique that is still relevant today, and possibly prophetic.
Although the Toast has been circulating online for some time, The Saturday Evening Post has chosen to release it to the public on their website. What the SEP release does is to allow us to see the letter in the magazine (the PDF is essentially a photocopy) in its original layout with a giant mug shot of Sir Lewis, as well as a poem and a cartoon that seem remarkably out of place. It is well worth a peek.