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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.1)
    I've finally gotten around to reading The Master & Margarita, which I'm about halfway through at the moment, and it's fantastic. The book has a character called Woland, who's essentially the Judeo-Christian devil, and he kicks up all manner of chaos throughout Stalinist Moscow. It's really good so far.

    What are some other depictions of the devil in fiction that work? What are some that don't work?

    Hell, if you know of any nonfiction accounts of the devil, tell us about those.
  1.  (1432.2)
    Well, "Master & Margarita" is a beautiful narrative (i loved "Heart of a Dog" too). There are many representations of devil in our Ocidental literature, since medieval literature.

    There is a author, in the Brazilian literature, João Guimarães Rosa, with a gourgeous book about devil, his names and his function (besides a real renovation to the Portuguese as language in the 1950's): The Devil to Pay in Backlands (the original title is "Grande Sertão: Veredas", literally something like "Backlands: Paths"). The Amazon's price, it´s certain, are surrealistic high, but if you can read this book (in Portuguese, better), don't miss the chance.
  2.  (1432.3)
    the depiction of the devil in Gideon Mack i enjoyed a lot. but i was also hallucinating due to altitude sickness at the time so i may have to double check...
  3.  (1432.4)
    "Needful Things" by Stephen King, is a bit long but the portrayal of the devil as agent provocateur is really fun to read. The whole thing starts with a baseball card and ends with a sort of Noreaster' gotterdamurung.

    "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy, the character of Judge Holden is little less than the devil incarnate. There are some intimations, subtle ones, to a supernatural nature as well.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.5)
    @orwellseyes:

    I've heard great things about Blood Meridian, so I'll definitely make a point of reading that soon.

    And just how many analogues for the devil does Stephen King have running around throughout his corpus? And how many of them are embodiments of Randall Flag?

    @collin:

    Used & new starting from $250? No kidding. That said, it sounds promising, but my four semesters of Latin won't do me any good towards reading it in the original Portuguese.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008 edited
     (1432.6)
    And Paradise Lost? It's super-manipulative, but I love it. Milton really makes you fall in love with Satan over the first three books, but the devil degenerates over the remaining course of the poem, to the point where he's just some petty, insecure, bundle of anxiety at book's end.

    I also really dug Mike Carey's Lucifer at first, but once he succeeds at making his own private universe, I bore of it really quick.
  4.  (1432.7)
    I don't think Gaunt is part of that whole Randall Flagg thing, all the better since having tried to read some of that Dark Tower stuff I found my brain starting to choke off and die.

    Oh and I forgot, "I, Lucifer" by Glen Duncan. It's a bit lad-mag in spots (Lucifer basically lives out every fratboy's dream of rockstar excess) but it's quite clever. A good devil beach read after you get beaten by "Blood Meridian".
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.8)
    I completely agree with you on the Dark Tower front. It was fine so long as the plot of the series mirrored that famous first sentence. "The man in black fled across the desert...et al..." But once King decides to spend books two & three just getting the four main characters to meet each other, that's where I gave up altogether. It stops being even a guilty pleasure at that point.
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      CommentAuthorliquidcow
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.9)
    The Master and Margarita is an excellent book, I want to re-read it at some point. Someone is doing a graphic novel version I think. I had even heard a rumour that they were making a film, but I think it is only a rumour.

    I had heard that Milton's portrayal of Satan in Paradise Lost was not actually intended to be sympathetic at all, but it is often read that way.

    I'm pretty fond of the Marlowe version of Faust myself. Marlowe is easily as good as Shakespeare and Faust is actually quite accessible, I recommend giving it a read.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.10)
    Jacques Cazotte - The Devil in Love a classic of european fantastic literature. Also the inspiration behind
    Arturo Perez Reverte's The Dumas Club.

    Fernando Pessoa - The Devil's Hour (or The Hour of the Devil; A Hora do Diablo in portugeuse) one of the most interesting authors and poets. A little borgesian gnostic parable.
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      CommentAuthorPyD
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.11)
    I can heartily recommend Matthew Lewis' The Monk for some quality diabolical machinations and dalliances. Its an old Gothic horror novel written by Lewis when he was in his late teens I think - its fairly wild and very old fashioned in places but some really really nasty things happen to the characters and the language is fantastic.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.12)
    Lewis's The Monk, Like Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer and Potocki's The Manuscript Found in Saragosa are great novels, full of diabolical adventures, but not really about the devil.
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.13)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    <a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=ak3z2Pm7Iwg"><em>The Adventures of Mark Twain</em></a>.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008 edited
     (1432.14)
    @liquidcow

    William Blake wrote a famous line (in the "Marriage of Heaven & Hell") about Milton being "a poet and therefore of the devil's ilk without knowing it." (paraphrase.)
    I know that's taking things out of context, and that Blake disapproved of Paradise Lost for many reasons (like its widespread allusions to pagan, Greco-Roman myth cycles), but I think it's a great sound-bite, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

    It's entirely possible that Milton didn't want his readers to identify with the devil at all, even in those grand early books, but it's really not surprising that the poem shows (at least unintentional) sympathy towards Satan & his gaggle of demonic revolutionaries. Long before writing his masterpiece, Milton wrote political tracts for Oliver Cromwell, the fundamentalist zealot who led a "glorious revolution" which led to the overthrow of the British monarchy & the beheading death of king Charles I. Milton wrote propaganda defending that rebellion as just, and then he went on to write Paradise Lost after the monarchy had come back into power.

    So I think it's pretty natural that he--if only by accident--found himself sympathizing with his own silver-tongued, iron-willed, satanic (anti?)hero.
  5.  (1432.15)
    I still have a great deal of love for the "Screwtape Letters", although it's *a* devil not *the* devil.
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      CommentAuthorbjacques
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.16)
    There's been one movie of The Master and Margarita, an Italian/Yugoslavian production from 1973. I haven't seen it, but it's not known to be especially faithful. Polish TV did a 6-hour miniseries in 1988. It's available from Amazon, as NTSC video with English subtitles. Low production values but well-acted. Both the Polish and Italian movies are based on the version that came out in 1967. A slightly more complete version of the novel came out in the 1990s, and there's a 10-part Russian TV miniseries based on it. I have it as .avi downloads, so no subtitles, alas.

    I read the 1967 version (published in 1980 by Grove Press), then the one that came out by Penguin in the 1990s, but I like the Grove version better. There's supposed to yet another new English translation coming out soon.
  6.  (1432.17)
    William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel. I was, inevitably, led to read the book after seeing the film (Angel Heart) and could never get De Niro as the Devil out of my head.

    The Devil & Daniel Webster is a great short story by Stephen Vincent Benet - one that we all know well.

    I also quite enjoyed Glen Duncan's portrayal of the Devil in I, Lucifer. Given mortal form and enjoying all the pleasures of the flesh whilst rewriting creation.
  7.  (1432.18)
    Richard Kadrey's Butcher Bird has just been released and that had a portrayal of Lucifer that I quite liked. At least, it did when I read it a couple of years ago as a free pdf called Blindshrike. It's just been released under the new title and I hope it's just as good as I remember. I'll let you know after I receive it from Amazon next week.
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      CommentAuthorliquidcow
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (1432.19)
    Dracko - I came across that clip a while ago, it is awesome. Claymation and Satan, together at last.
  8.  (1432.20)
    I remeber something more:
    - Dictionary of Demonology by Collin de Plancy - It's a very pleasant narrative encyclopedie wih heavy influence by the Voltaire and Mostequieu works. Something ironic and anti-mithical with wit and style.

    - The Damned (in original French, "La-Bas") by Joris-Karl Huysmans - Huysmans was one of the best writer at his time (fin de siecle XIX and early XXth) and this book, when the author show all the signs of catholic conversion, is a great poetic and narrative tour de force abour satanism (or the irony about all this damnation things).

    When I remember or found anything more, I will post...