International Screwtape Month?

Screwtape 2013 Triple

To say that The Screwtape Letters is a popular book by C.S. Lewis would be to make one of the clearest understatements regarding him. It was the first publication that put Lewis on the international radar and even if two different collections of books from the 1950’s (The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity) weren’t released,  this book would have been enough to give him lasting fame.

I bring out this point because today (2/16) is another anniversary for the publication of the book version (it was first a weekly “blog” in The Guardian prior to this). Interestingly, this month should almost be considered “International Screwtape Month” due to the fact that two other related anniversaries also occur. Besides being published in the US on February 16, 1943 , it first came out on the 9th in the UK in 1942 and then on February 27, 1961 a new edition was released entitled The Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast. This version contains a new preface that is sometimes listed as a postscript in other releases of the book. This short piece (though longer than the first preface) is well worth reading. Of course, the famed follow-up essay is also in this edition.

Of course other versions of The Screwtape Letters have appeared since then. There are several different audio book editions, plus a radio drama version by Focus on the Family. During Lewis’s lifetime a play was written that didn’t translate well.

A Marvel Comics adaptation came out in the 1990’s and there have been numerous authors releasing their own letters in the same vein. Talk of a movie version has been circulating, but nothing has yet resulted. However, a stage version featuring by Max McLean was on a national tour for several years and it had received great reviews.