(Janet Miriam) Taylor (Holland) Caldwell

Start Free Trial

Anthony Boucher

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184

["Dialogues with the Devil"] is an exercise in moral indignation without the mechanics of fiction that customarily camouflage Miss Caldwell's opinions. Thus, in an exchange of letters between Beelzebub and the Archangel Michael, we are made directly aware of a catalogue of modern scourges beloved of the devil: egalitarianism, water pollution, Freud, masculine women, insubordinate children, climate control and deodorants for men. (Miss Caldwell doesn't say how the letters are delivered, but I suspect that Lucifer has a hell of a lot to do with the U.S. Post Office.)…

The author is certainly on the side of the angels—but she is guilty of a couple of misdemeanors not mentioned by the devil, namely, Prolixity and Sententiousness. Her celestial visions, ornamented with "alabaster bowls of fruit" and "limbs like carved white stone" evoke Maxfield Parrish and worse. A proper novel is a far more effective vehicle for ideas than a mere jeremiad, however deeply felt.

Anthony Boucher, in his review of "Dialogues with the Devil," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1967 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), June 11, 1967, p. 43.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

William B. Hill


The Times Literary Supplement