Representations of the Devil in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Maximilian Rudwin (essay date 1931)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Salvation of Satan in Modern Poetry,” in The Devil in Legend and Literature, AMS Press, 1970, pp. 280-308.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1931, Rudwin considers the sympathetic portrayal of Satan in nineteenth-century poetry.]

The reversal of poetic judgment with regard to the Devil is among the most striking characteristics of the modern period. The popular medieval conception degraded Diabolus from the former high potentate of paradise to a powerless and ludicrous personage, who served our ancestors as the butt of such laughter as still rings across the ages. The modern period, on the other hand, has clothed the Devil with the...

(The entire section is 11439 words.)

Hannes Vatter (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Romantic Satanism: Blake, the Gothic Novel, Shelley and Byron,” in The Devil in English Literature, Francke Verlag, 1978, pp. 148-78.

[In the following essay, Vatter surveys figures bearing qualities of the Miltonic Satan in the writings of English Romantic poets and Gothic novelists.]

The first step towards a freer development of the devil figure had been made, as we have seen, with the abandonment of Biblical subject matter in the first Moralities. A next, and more decisive step could be taken when the dogmatical tenets of theology were no longer accepted as binding and unquestionable realities. The Age of Reason, itself hostile to Satanism—who would...

(The entire section is 11112 words.)