The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters are the letters from an infernal secretary, a demon in the upper echelons of Hell, to his nephew, a young tempter. In them, advice is given about the best techniques to seduce mortals. In this book, Lewis is quite ironic, presenting Hell as a big, hypocritical bureaucracy. Under an apparent politeness, the satanic fury hides itself. He also purposefully reverses values in demonic prose: demons refer to God as "Enemy", Lucifer as "Our Father Below" and the human suffering temptation as a "patient". The key words are decadence, falsehood, reversal of values, masks, cynicism, cruelty.
The cover of The Screwtape Letters has undergone very few changes since its conception. From the beginning, it was thought of as a "window" through which to observe Hell and demonic strategies. Extending the "window" metaphor, a cutout was an ideal addition. The central image would come on the cover page, also in color. This image of paper and ink, usually simple, took on more sinister connotations when placed on a black background. The initial idea included wrapping the hollow region with a chain, symbolizing the infernal chains, but after testing it turned out that the chain looked too much like a frame. A much better result was obtained by simulating charred paper edges. A title simulating a distorted typewriter closed the set, showing the typeface that a hellish correspondence probably would have...
On the back cover, the initial idea has not changed. The image in the background is the classic scene from Hell in the "Divine Comedy". In the center, an envelope, also charred, addressed to Wormwood, the recipient of the letters in the book. The horned shadow makes a reference to the subtle black humor Lewis features in the book. This same envelope appears recessed in the book's preface and in each opening of the letters.