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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Devilish Books

Hell by Robert Olen ButlerDevilish Books! Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, the prince of darkness - call him what you will, but the devil is a such an intriguing force of evil that countless writers across many centuries have woven a devil, the devil or simply demonic themes into their work.

The Faustian pact has been reworked many times – from Christopher Marlow’s Doctor Faustus, which popularized this age-old German legend, to Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray – while temptation is also a common reoccurring theme with John Milton’s Paradise Lost being the classic example.

Dante's Inferno (which has recently been turned into a video game), C.S. Lewis, Washington Irving, and, of course, the king of the occultists, Aleister Crowley, have all ventured into this dark territory. Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, also takes a trip through hell with his new supernatural thriller Horns. Devilish writing veers from straight horror to anarchic humor to the completely unexpected.

Get to know the devil in literature.

Twenty Devilish Books

Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984) Robert Heinlein One for atheists as Heinlein shows unexpected visions of Satan, heaven and hell.
The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain The Mysterious Stranger (1916) Mark Twain Some Austrian boys meet an angel called Satan, who educates them – a satire on religion.
The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli The Sorrows of Satan (1895) Marie Corelli The devil comes to London and helps a starving novelist – a satire on Victorian life.
The War Hound and the World's Pain by Michael Moorcock The War Hound and the World's Pain (1981) Michael Moorcock A fantasy where Lucifer asks the hero to do God’s work and find the Holy Grail.
The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita (1966) Mikhail Bulgakov Satan brings hell to Moscow. Written during Stalin’s show trials. Suppressed for years.
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) Charles Robert Maturin A reworking of the Faustian pact – an example of classic gothic literature.
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin Rosemary's Baby Ira Levin Levin’s vision of satanism in suburbia. Should not be read by mothers-to-be.
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by João Guimarães Rosa The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (1956) João Guimarães Rosa One of the best novels to emerge from Brazil – the devil is just part of the story.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman Good Omens (1990) Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman The world is coming to an end – a very funny book indeed.
I Lucifer by Glen Duncan I, Lucifer (2003) Glen Duncan It’s not easy being the fallen angel, who takes over the body of a depressed writer.
Me and the Devil Blues by Akira Hiramoto Me & the Devil Blues 1: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson (2008) Akira Hiramoto The life of blues guitarist Robert Johnson, who sold his soul to the devil, is re-imagined.
Hell by Robert Olen Butler Hell (2009) Robert Olen Butler Definitely not Dante, a TV presenter endures a novel but hellish experience.
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike The Witches of Eastwick (1984) John Updike Devilish Darryl Van Horne sets up his own little coven on Rhode Island.
Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg Falling Angel (1978) William Hjortsberg The Angel Heart movie is based on this novel - Louis Cyphre wants a debt settled.
Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey Butcher Bird (2007) Richard Kadrey A San Francisco tattoo artist journeys to Hell after being wounded by a demon.
Needful Things by Stephen King Needful Things (1991) Stephen King Leland Gaunt is an evil scheming shopkeeper, who turns a small town on its head.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian (1985) Cormac McCarthy Many see the Judge Holden character as demonic in this Western novel.
The Monk by Matthew Lewis The Monk (1796) Matthew Lewis A Spanish monk is tempted by Matilda, an agent of the devil, into ungodly crimes.
Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison Deathbird Stories (1975) Harlan Ellison Written between 1960 and 1974, a collection of 19 scary stories of myth and evil.
The Devil in Love by Jacques Cozotte The Devil in Love (1772) Jacques Cazotte An occult romance – Satan falls head over heads in love.


Jean&Vic said...

Of this list you know I have read a total of 3 of them. Sad to say, especially considering my tastes in reading. . . but thank you for the list to look for ;-)