Bedeviled: Lewis, Tolkien and the Shadow of Evil, By Colin Duriez


Lewis, Tolkien and the Shadow of Evil

by Colin Duriez

  • Length: 235 pages
  • Published: March 16, 2015
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3417
  • ISBN: 9780830834174

*affiliate partner

The battle between good and evil—in both the seen and unseen worlds—was as clearly at play in the era of C. S. Lewis and his friends in the Oxford literary group, the Inklings, as in our own era. Some of the members of the Inklings carried physical and psychological scars from World War I which led them to deeply consider the problem of evil during the dark era of World War II. Were they alive today, their view of a spiritual conflict behind physical battles would undoubtedly be reinforced.

Among the Inklings, Lewis was at the forefront of writing on human pain, suffering, devilry, miracles and the supernatural, with books like The Screwtape Letters and more. It is no surprise, then, that he provides the main focus of this book by expert Inklings writer Colin Duriez. J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy offers another rich resource with much to say to the World War II era and beyond. Other Inklings writings and conversations come into play as well as Duriez explores the writers' considerations of evil and spiritual warfare, particularly focused in the context of wartime.

Delving into the interplay between good and evil, these pages enlighten us to the way of goodness and the promise of a far country as we explore the way out of the shadow of evil.

"With his characteristic breadth of knowledge and depth of insight, Colin Duriez boldly explores what C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien have told us about the great cosmic battle between good and evil—in their own war-time experiences and especially in everyday life. Duriez captures how Lewis and Tolkien meet darkness head-on and show blow-by-blow how technocracy, egotism, disillusionment and loss of faith (the world, the flesh and the devil) are overcome by the love of God. This important book celebrates strong hope over and against the dire forces of darkness that beset us. Together, Lewis, Tolkien and Duriez raise the victory flag with high courage, wisdom and joy."

Monika B. Hilder, Trinity Western University, author of Surprised by the Feminine

"Nobody knows more about the respective canons of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien or their collaborative friendship than Colin Duriez, and he puts his erudition to work in this new volume that explores and elucidates the shadow of evil in their respective literary works. Those looking for contemporary insights into the source and problem of evil need look no further than Bedeviled."

Bruce L. Edwards, author of Not a Tame Lion

"Christians often find it challenging to explain the existence of evil in the world. . . . Duriez examines how the Inklings dealt with the powers of darkness in the stories they wrote between the wars and during World War II. . . . Followers of Duriez and fans of Lewis and Tolkien will . . . welcome this addition to the field with its detailed analysis."

Library Journal, April 15, 2015

"Delving into the interplay between good and evil, these pages enlighten us to the way of goodness and the promise of a far country as we explore the way out of the shadow of evil."

The Light Canada, May 2015

"Bedeviled by Colin Duriez is a thoughtful examination of the cosmic battle between good and evil as seen in the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien."

CBA Retailers + Resources, April 2015

"Duriez concisely sums up Lewis and Tolkien's beloved works and clearly identifies their themes. This makes the book a logical point of entry or companion for anyone studying these writers. Apart from offering a survey of two writers whom you would benefit richly from knowing well (if you don't already), he also gives the reader some weighty truths to consider as he explores thinkers who make it their life's aim to shine the light of Christ on a world in which there is undeniable darkness, both within and without."

Andrew M. Whytock, Haddington House Journal, 2016


Part I: Understanding Evil During a Time of War
1.The Cosmic Battle: C. S. Lewis in Wartime
2. Devilry and the Problem of Hell: The Screwtape Letters
3. Spiritual Conflict: Inklings in Wartime
4. Images of the Dark Side: The Lord of the Rings
5. Right and Wrong as a Clue to Meaning: The Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity
6. Exploring What Is Wrong with the World: The Cosmic Trilogy

Part II: The Intersection of Good and Evil
7. Progress and Regress in the Journey of Life: The Pilgrim?s Regress
8. The Divide Between Good and Bad: Tolkien?s Leaf by Niggle and Lewis?s The Great Divorce
9. The Power of Change: The Chronicles of Narnia
10. Pain and Love: The Four Loves, Till We Have Faces and A Grief Observed
11. Release from Hell?s Snares: Lewis and the Road out of the Self to Gain the Self
12. The Way of Goodness and the Far Country: Narnia and Middle Earth

Appendix 1. War in heaven: The Roots of Lewis?s Concern with Devilry
Appendix 2. The Spirit of the Age: Subjectivism
Subject Index


You May Also Like

Colin Duriez

Colin Duriez has taught, written and spoken worldwide on C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings for nearly thirty years. In addition to winning the Clyde S. Kilby Award in 1994 for his research, he has also appeared as a commentator on the extended-version film DVDs of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Peter Jackson, director), PBS's The Question of God, which compared C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud, and the Sony DVD Ringers about Tolkien fandom and the impact of Tolkien on popular culture. Duriez studied at the University of Istanbul, the University of Ulster (where he was a founding member of the Irish Christian Study Centre), and under Francis Schaeffer at L'Abri in Huemoz, Switzerland. His best-known books include The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia, The Inklings Handbook (with the late David Porter), J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship, Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, and A Field Guide to Narnia. Duriez also compiled The Poetic Bible, an anthology of English verse from over one thousand years based on the biblical text.