Representations of the Devil in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: English Romanticism: The Satanic School - Essay

Charles E. Robinson (essay date 1970)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Devil as Doppelgänger in The Deformed Transformed: The Sources and Meaning of Byron's Unfinished Drama,” in Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Vol. 74, No. 3, March, 1970, pp. 177-202.

[In the following essay, Robinson probes the Faustian and other sources and thematic implications of the diabolical double in Lord Byron's The Deformed Transformed.]

Byron's The Deformed Transformed is a complex, fragmentary, and uneven drama which has received little critical attention and less praise since its publication in 1824; yet the potential effect of this drama prompted Montague Summers in an unguarded moment to express “infinite...

(The entire section is 11441 words.)

Ross Woodman (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Milton's Satan in Wordsworth's ‘Vale of Soul-making,’” in Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 23, No. 1, Spring, 1984, pp. 3-30.

[In the following essay, Woodman discusses subtle echoes of the Miltonic Satan in William Wordsworth's poetry.]

By our own spirits are we deified:
We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.

(“Resolution and Independence.” ll. 47-49)


In several of Wordsworth's lyrics, “We Are Seven” and “Anecdote For Fathers” among them, an adult narrator confronts a small child and, like the “homely Nurse”1 of the...

(The entire section is 10914 words.)

William D. Brewer (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Diabolical Discourse of Byron and Shelley,” in Philological Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1, Winter, 1991, pp. 47-65.

[In the following essay, Brewer asserts that a complimentary interest in Satan as a literary presence inspired a number of the great poetic works of Lord Byron and Percy Shelley.]


Shelley's praise of Byron's Cain was immediate and enthusiastic. In a 12 January 1822 letter to John Gisborne, he asked: “What think you of Lord Byron now? Space wondered less at the swift and fair creations of God, when he grew weary of vacancy, than I at the late works of this spirit of an angel in the mortal paradise of a...

(The entire section is 6647 words.)

Peter A. Schock (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The ‘Satanism’ of Cain in Context: Byron's Lucifer and the War Against Blasphemy,” in Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. 44, 1995, pp. 182-215.

[In the following essay, Schock views Lucifer in Lord Byron's Cain as an ambiguous figure—at once both “the traditional tempter” and “the Promethean metaphysical rebel”—and discusses Byron's purposes in manipulating the Satanic myth.]

In Cain: A Mystery (1821), Byron offers the reader the enigma of his Lucifer, a demonic figure who oscillates between traditional diabolism and all that is implied by “Romantic Satanism.” On the one hand, Byron seems to introduce a conventional if...

(The entire section is 13438 words.)