Representations of the Devil in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: The Devil In American Fiction - Essay

Robert Bush (essay date 1965)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Paddy McGann, William Gilmore Simm's Devil Story,” in Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Vol. 69, No. 3, March, 1965, pp. 197-204.

[In the following essay, Bush explicates Paddy McGann, a picaresque dialect novel that features a comical and symbolic representation of the Devil.]

William Gilmore Simms's most notable wartime publication, Paddy McGann; or, The Demon of the Stump, was published in 1863 in a Richmond weekly, The Southern Illustrated News. The novel has never been published in book form, probably because of the element of Southern patriotism that Simms included in it. There is elation over the Confederate...

(The entire section is 3615 words.)

Charles G. Zug III (essay date 1968)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Construction of ‘The Devil and Tom Walker’: A Study of Irving's Later Use of Folklore,” in New York Folklore, Vol. 24, No. 4, December, 1968, pp. 243-60.

[In the following essay, Zug traces folklore elements in Washington Irving's “The Devil and Tom Walker,” viewing the story as a masterful blending of German and American folk motifs.]

Although it is unquestionably one of Washington Irving's finest tales, “The Devil and Tom Walker” has never attracted much critical attention. First published in 1824 in Part IV of Tales of a Traveller, the tale recounts the fate of an avaricious New Englander, who sells his soul to the Devil in return...

(The entire section is 5751 words.)

William Bysshe Stein (essay date 1968)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Devils of Hawthorne's Faust Myth,” in Hawthorne's Faust: A Study of the Devil Archetype, Archon Books, 1968, pp. 67-86.

[In the following essay, Stein investigates Nathaniel Hawthorne's use of the Faustian myth in his short stories to examine man's ability to profit morally from an encounter with evil.]

With renewed sincerity Hawthorne declares in Twice-Told Tales that the achetypal covenant with the devil most persuasively symbolizes the enigma of human destiny.1 This statement occurs in “The Haunted Mind,” a narrative that defines the creative patterns of Hawthorne's imagination. In a few words he unbosoms the secret inspiration...

(The entire section is 7267 words.)

James L. Williamson (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘Young Goodman Brown’: Hawthorne's ‘Devil in Manuscript,’” in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring, 1981, pp. 155-62.

[In the following essay, Williamson studies multiple devil figures in Nathaniel Hawthorne's satirical tale “Young Goodman Brown.”]

When Hawthorne commented on the vocation of authorship, he was often drawn to analogies between writing and damnation. “… authors,” he wrote with tongue-in-cheek in 1821, “are always poor devils, and therefore Satan may take them.”1 The pun is on “devil,” which can mean a literary hack; and the meaning is clear: to write conventionally and without integrity is to...

(The entire section is 4077 words.)

Terence J. Matheson (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Devil and Philip Traum: Twain's Satiric Purposes in The Mysterious Stranger,” in Markham Review, Vol. 12, Fall, 1982, pp. 5-11.

[In the following essay, Matheson concentrates on Mark Twain's ironic treatment of Satan in The Mysterious Stranger.]

It is now generally known that the version of Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger familiar to most readers is the product of considerable editorial liberties taken by the author's literary executor, Albert Bigelow Paine, and his publisher Frederick A. Duneka, who worked extensively on Twain's unfinished manuscripts in order to create a marketable product. Paine and Duneka, it has been...

(The entire section is 6102 words.)