Dorothy Sayers’ Sluckdrib Letter: Not The First Screwtape Copycat … But Close

A Pilgrim in Narnia

In preparing for a paper on teaching The Screwtape Letters for the C.S. Lewis and the Inklings Colloquium at Taylor University back in 2012, I thought I had discovered the first Screwtapian letter written by someone other than C.S. Lewis. A Dr. Frederic Lyman Wells of Harvard’s Department of Hygiene wrote a series of Screwtape-styled letters in 1948 for his Presidential address to the American Psychopathological Association. I was sure this psychological letter was the first copycat, but I was wrong.

Lewis’ very first Screwtape Letter was published in the Anglican periodical, The Guardian, on May 2, 1941, and was followed in print in England on February 9, 1942. Struck by the book, mystery author Dorothy L. Sayers began a conversation through letters with Lewis. A year later, this famous creator of the Lord Whimsey sleuth stories sent Lewis an advanced copy of her book, The Man Born to Be…

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