Representations of the Devil in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Luciferian Discourse In European Literature - Essay

Nicolae Babuts (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Hugo's La fin de Satan: The Identity Shift,” in Symposium, Vol. 35, No. 2, Summer, 1981, pp. 91-101.

[In the following essay, Babuts analyzes Victor Hugo's imaginative identification with the demonic protagonist of his La fin de Satan.]

Many critics approach La Fin de Satan with the growing realization that there are striking similarities between Satan and the poet, and that the original aspects of the myth can be seen as a sublimation of Hugo's predicament in exile. Baudouin points out the kinship between “sa fille bien-aimée Léopoldine” and the angel Liberté.1 Reinforcing this point of view, Zumthor calls Léopoldine...

(The entire section is 4961 words.)

Marilyn Georgas (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Dickens, Defoe, the Devil and the Dedlocks: The ‘Faust Motif’ in Bleak House,” in Dickens Studies Annual, Vol. 10, 1982, pp. 23-44.

[In the following essay, Georgas claims that Mr. Tulkinghorn in Charles Dickens's novel Bleak House is a devil figure and the symbolic embodiment of absolute evil.]

While Dickens' Bleak House is greatly admired, the character of Mr. Tulkinghorn has posed a serious problem for most readers. Studies of Bleak House have focused rather exclusively on Chancery and the law as the novel's symbolic center, and on the story of Jarndyce and Jarndyce as its significant plot. Such studies may regard Mr....

(The entire section is 9342 words.)

Robert Godwin-Jones (essay date 1983)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Where the Devil Leads: Peasant Superstitions in George Sand's Petite Fadette and Droste-Hülshoff's Judenbuche,” in Neohelicon, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1983, pp. 221-38.

[In the following essay, Godwin-Jones details peasant superstitions related to the Devil in representative works by George Sand and Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.]

Both George Sand and Annette von Droste-Hülshoff belonged to aristocratic families who owned landed estates. Each spent the majority of her youth in the country and remained firmly attached to the particular region in which she was brought up, Sand in Berry, Droste in Westphalia. Both women ultimately rejected the lure of...

(The entire section is 6170 words.)

Kevin Corrigan (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Ivan's Devil in The Brothers Karamazov in the Light of a Traditional Platonic View of Evil,” in Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. XXII, No. 1, January, 1986, pp. 1-9.

[In the following essay, Corrigan highlights parallels between the devil of Ivan's dream in Feodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Plato's philosophical conception of evil.]

In striking contrast to the dramatic power of the Mephistopheles of Goethe or Marlowe and the Satan of Milton or Dante is the devil who appears to Ivan Karamazov. On the threshold of the twentieth century, the devil is depicted as a down-at-heel gentleman, a sponger, a shirker, agreeable...

(The entire section is 4492 words.)

Adam Weiner (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Evils of Dead Souls,” in By Authors Possessed: The Demonic Novel in Russia, Northwestern University Press, 1998, pp. 57-92.

[In the following excerpt, Weiner describes the demonological elements of Nikolai Gogol's novel Dead Souls and their relationship to the novelist's authorial persona.]


The Devil acquired national characteristics in this first great Russian demonic novel [Dead Souls] through Gogol's creative use of two religious demonologies that antedate the christianization of Rus, but endured in legend and literature until Gogol's day and beyond. These are...

(The entire section is 7416 words.)