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A History of the Devil

This highly original and engaging book by French historian Robert Muchembled, is a journey through time and space in search of the changing perception and significance of the devil in Western culture. The author takes the story back to the 13th century, when visual images of Satan first started to appear, and forward to the 20th Century, dealing with, among others, the place of the diabolical in the films of Stanley Kubrick, including Eyes Wide Shut. The changing figures of Evil over time are shown to correlate with the way in which men conceive of their destinies and the future of their civilisation. Fascination with the diabolical having reached its height in the witch-hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries, by the enlightenment, begins to show signs of decline, a process which has continued up to today. The result of this process, for modern western society, is a subtle metamorphosis of the notion of the devil from fear of Satan, into an internal demon, "the demon within" characterised by a distrust of oneself and ones desires. It is this conception of the diabolical that is visible today in our interest in the supernatural, exorcism, and for example, in the role of the "devlish good" in advertising. A rich, vivid history of a topic that never ceases to intrigue.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction: A Thousand Years Of The Devil. 1. Satan Makes His Entry (Twelfth To Fifteenth Centuries):. Satan And The Myth Of Primordial Combat. Good And Bad Devils. Instilling Fear: The Diabolic Obsession At The End Of The Middle Ages. The Evil One And The Beast. 2. The Night Of The Sabbath:. Heresy. From Waldensians To Witches. A Hammer To Crush The Witches. Satanic Nudity. The Triumph Of Demon-Mania. The Mark Of The Devil. 3. The Devil In The Body:. The Magical Body. The Female Body. Monsters And Marvels. The Hell Of Sex. Towards A History Of The Senses: The Promotion Of Sight. Towards A History Of The Senses: The Demonising Of Smell. 4. Satanic Literature And Tragic Culture (1550-1650):. The Fear Of Oneself. Devil Books In Protestant Germany. The Tragic Culture In France. Rosset, The Devil And The Rotting Corpse. Jean-Pierre Camus, Or The Spectacle Of Horror. Bloody Tales: The Devil In The News. The Baroque And Transgression. 5. The Twilight Of The Devil, From Classicism To Romanticism:. Satan s Final Apotheosis. The Fragmented Images Of Evil. A Disenchanted Devil. The Symbolic Transition: From Satan To Mephistopheles. The Contribution Of Fiction. Beelzebub In Love. 6. The Demon Within (Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries):. Doctrinal Permanencies. Having Fun With The Devil: The Gothic Novel And The Frenetiques. The Rebel Angel Of The Satanists. The Children Of The Devil. The Diabolic Unconscious. Taming The Shadows. A Paper Devil?. 7. Pleasure Or Terror. The Devil At The End Of The Second Millennium:. The Devil, Probably Prudent Exorcism. Devilish Good : Advertising, Beer And The Strip Cartoon. The Expressionist Devil: From The Golem To Dies Irae. The Film Noir: Horror, Suspense And Perversion. America s Demons. Conclusion. Dancing With The Devil. Select Bibliography. Select List Of Films

About the Author

Robert Muchembled is a professor of history at the University of Paris XIII.


"Only on one level a history of the Devil; on a deeper level it is a history of the shifting and fluctuating status the Devil has occupied in Western culture ... a valuable book, once one has recognized its unusual intentions." Richard Kieckhefer, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft

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