Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Screwtape Letters
- Where Written: Oxford, UK
- When Published: 1942
- Literary Period: The fantasy “boom” of World War II
- Genre: Moral dialogue, allegory, fantasy, epistolary novel
- Setting: Hell
- Climax: the patient’s death
- Antagonist: In one sense, the “antagonist” in the book is God, whom Screwtape calls “the Enemy.” From the perspective of the reader (who presumably sympathizes with good, not evil), the antagonists are Satan, Screwtape, and Wormwood, the devils who try to corrupt the patient’s soul.
- Point of View: First person limited—the novel is written as a series of 31 letters.
The perfect friendship: C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia is arguably the most famous series of fantasy novels written in the 20th century. Its only real rival for such a title would be J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Amazingly, Lewis and Tolkien were good friends for many years. It’s not hard to see why: both were pious Christians, both taught literature at Oxford for decades, both fought in World War I, and both had their books made into highly successful movies… decades after they died.
A sad day in history: On the day C.S. Lewis died, his death attracted barely any international attention, despite the fact that his books were world-famous at the time. The reason? An even more famous and beloved figure died on that day: John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated during a visit to Dallas, Texas.