A History of the Devil

A History of the Devil : From the Middle Ages to the Present

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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.



An outstanding book about the changing perception and significance of the devil in Western culture.
Robert Muchembled is a well-known historian and an expert on witchcraft, whose work has already been translated into many languages.
The author highlights the way that the changing notion of evil is connected to other changes in society at large.
Draws on a wealth of examples, from the witch-hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries, to the films of Stanley Kubrick.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 360 pages
  • 156 x 228 x 19mm | 526g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745628168
  • 9780745628165
  • 925,669

Back cover copy

This highly original and engaging book by French historian RobertMuchembled, is a journey through time and space in search of thechanging perception and significance of the devil in Westernculture.


The author takes the story back to the 13th century, when visualimages of Satan first started to appear, and forward to the 20thCentury, dealing with, among others, the place of the diabolical inthe films of Stanley Kubrick, including Eyes Wide Shut. Thechanging figures of Evil over time are shown to correlate with theway in which men conceive of their destinies and the future oftheir civilisation. Fascination with the diabolical having reachedits height in the witch-hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries, bythe enlightenment, begins to show signs of decline, a process whichhas continued up to today. The result of this process, for modernwestern society, is a subtle metamorphosis of the notion of thedevil from fear of Satan, into an internal demon, "the demonwithin" characterised by a distrust of oneself and onesdesires. It is this conception of the diabolical that is visibletoday in our interest in the supernatural, exorcism, and forexample, in the role of the "devlish good" inadvertising.





A rich, vivid history of a topic that never ceases tointrigue.
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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
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Review Text

"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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Review quote

"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
show more

About Robert Muchembled

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

106 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 25% (26)
4 43% (46)
3 25% (27)
2 6% (6)
1 1% (1)
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