The Devil: Origins And Avatars

Maria Cristina Batalha

Abstract

Among the multiples thematic components that have a role in fantastic fiction, this study aims at analyzing the particular case of the myth of the Devil, from the Greek diabállein, that means «to separate», but also «to mislead». From this double meaning, it examines more specifically the novel Le diable amoureux (1722), by Jacques Cazotte, the melting pot of the different sources which are at the origin of the emergence of fantastic literature and the figure of Devil. In the eighteenth century, this presence remains as the emblematic representation of the Evil, but its actualization in the different novels of the time suggests a familiarity until then unusual. Transmuted into a literary theme, the fantastic removes the eminently supernatural aspect of the diabolical pact and introduces doubt as to its definition, while allowing it to escape as much from religion as from reason, giving way to the fear and horror that dominates the scene from the eighteenth century. In order to sustain these reflections, this investigation considers the works of Friedrich Schiller, Edmund Burke, and H.P. Lovecraft in his famous essay on supernatural horror.

Keywords

The Devil; Jacques Cazotte; The Evil

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