Plagiarizing Screwtape

As we continue through our series on Screwtape, I wanted to reblog Rob’s post here. Partly because of the sheer cleverness of his having written of it, but partly because he beat me to it. Recently I got this book out of the library and went through it, ready to write a super amazing blog on it. Then I googled it, and discovered that the Mere Inkling got here first. So, here it is!

Mere Inkling Press

breigHow many letters have you read that were penned in the tradition of C.S. Lewis’ groundbreaking Screwtape Letters?

If you’re a fan of the collection, you’ve probably read similar correspondence that owed its very existence to Lewis’ work.

Now a more sensitive question—have you ever written anything similar to The Screwtape Letters? I must confess that I have. In fact, I’m currently working on a similar collection I hope to finish during the coming year.

Many writers have tried their hand at writing angelic letters, with varying degrees of skill and success. After you finish this column, you might want to check out two examples right here at Mere Inkling: Screwtape Letters Anniversary and Screwtape Goes to War.

Some letters have been composed from the perspective of a heavenly angel (often perceived of as a “guardian” angel). Others have been, like Lewis’ innovative example, written from a…

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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6 Responses to Plagiarizing Screwtape

  1. hannaheag says:

    Hi Brenton,

    I’ve been enjoying this series!

    I also wanted to mention a Screwtape homage that you might like to know about it. I don’t think I saw it mentioned, but I’ve been in skimming mode a bit lately with preparing for ESN’s role at the Urbana conference and adding a new nonprofit to my writing clients list, so apologies if you already wrote about it.

    Randy Alcorn, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters,

    Honestly, it’s not my favorite Screwtape homage, but I thought you’d like to know about it. I do think Alcorn has considerable writing talent and is a person with deep commitment to Christ, but I also feel like this work is more prone to equate certain American political causes with Christian practice than I’m personally comfortable with. But it’s a contribution to the genre, so I thought as a scholar of the genre you’d be interested in it.

    By the way, I note on the Mysterion blog that Donald and Kristin are looking for more fantasy, having received a lot of sci fi. So I imagine they’d welcome some fantasy from you if you have time. 🙂 Hope you’re well!



    • Alcorn is an interesting fellow. I read his Edge of Eternity, and knowing what it was thought it quite good. This was before I read “The Great Divorce.” He is also an environmentally sensitive evangelical.
      I knew about his Screwtape work, but did not read it. There are a lot to read! I also wonder if he would write the political stuff the same way 15 years later.
      And thanks for the tip on Mysterion. I should get my rear in gear, but am swamped with may projects. If I can get a submission together, I may drop your name 😉


  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Thanks for acquainting us with this!

    I expect somebody out there has a(n on-going) Screwtape-imitation bibliography…

    I wonder, historically, how common the combination of epistolary form and ‘unreliable narrator’ is?


    • I don’t know that there is a Screwtape imitation biblio. Is there? Does anyone know?
      Good question on unreliable narrator and epistolarity. I don’t know the answer. The cool new Potato Pie Literary Society book has some unreliable narrators, and all are imperfect. But there is somehow a story that gets told. Most of the early epistolary tales came out of morality pieces, so it was presumed the narrator knew.


      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Rather tangentially, have you happened to have caught up with Harry Blamires’s trilogy, The Devil’s Hunting Grounds (1954), Cold War in Hell (1955), and Blessing Unbounded: A Vision (1955: reprinted as Highway to Heaven in 1984/5)? – and/or New Town: A Fable…Unless You Believe (2005: with an ebook version, 2012)? I haven’t, yet…

        (Looking him up, I see he just turned 99 ten days ago, if Wikipedia’s right!)


        • I don’t know the trilogy by heart, but just read the letters where Lewis read the manuscripts (for 2 of them, I think). I hope he had a good birthday!
          I do know his man book on the Christian Mind, and have read it multiple times.


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