Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Devils of Loudun (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October, 2001
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Amazon Author Rankbeta(What's this?)
Top Customer Reviews
Urbain Grandier, the local parson of Loudon, is a very naughty cleric who partakes much too much of the sensual world. One morsel happens to be the daughter of his best friend. She becomes pregnant with unhappy consequences for many people. Grandier manages in this way of behavior to alienate nearly every important Catholic in Loudon as well as make an enemey of Richelieu.
When Grandier spurns the local prioress, Sister Jeanne, she claims demonic possession at the hand of Grandier as do 2 of her nuns. Grandier may have been guilty of many sins, but demonic possession was not among them. Exorcists are brought in as much too destroy Grandier as to throw out the devils (7 specific ones inhabit Sister Jeanne alone). The exorcists produce devils in 14 more nuns. The public exorcisms provide great entertainment, reviving the local tourist industry, but eventually produce the trial of Grandier, who in due turn is burned at the stake. The story continues when the Jesuit Surin arrives to finally successfully exorcise Sister Jeanne's demons.
Huxley's 1952 work explores the psychological aspects of demonic possession and exorcism, sometimes brilliantly against the backdrop of the madnesses of his own time. Liberal rationalists had "fondly imagined" an end to persecutions of 'heretics'.Read more ›
I'm sorry to see that this book is currently unavailable. It's really one of the most interesting historical accounts that I've ever read. Actually, Whiting's play, based on the same incident, is also excellent. I have mixed feelings about Russell's film. I thought Vanessa Redgrave was remarkable and Oliver Reed was very good, but Russell went too often over the top as is his wont.
If you can't find this book online, perhaps you will come across it in a used-bookstore or, if you are luckier than I am and have a well-stocked library, you can find it there. You shouldn't pass up the opportunity if you want to have a satisfying and unusual reading experience.
The historical situation of the Catholic Church and the Jesuits, the politics in France during the 17th Century, the downfall of the Huguenots, all constitute the fabric were the personal drama and martyrdom of father Urbain Grandier are sewn.
POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Cardinal Richelieu is directing the policy of France, during the reign of Louis XIII. After Richelieu convinces the King that self-government of small provincial towns must end, the feudal nobility lose their independence by an edict calling for the destruction of their castles and walls, whilst the Hughenots are being crushed by force. One of these towns is Loudun, where the priest (a Jesuit) is Urbain Grandier, an intellectual priest of 35, that knows the meaning and consequences of the edict calling for the destruction of the fortified walls of Loudun. Consequently, when Laubardemont, an agent of the Cardinal Richelieu arrives in the town, he is confronted and stopped by Grandier.
GRANDIER'S VICES: Father Grandier is strikingly handsome and a sensualist. His vows of celibacy have not prevented him from fathering a bastard child with the daughter of Trincant, the town magistrate, and performing an illegal marriage with Madeleine, a young lady with whom he has fallen in love.
THE ANGELICAL DEVIL: The Convent of the Ursulines in Loudun is ruled by Sister Jeanne of the Angels, a young humped back noun, with a beautiful face. She develops an obsession with Grandier and has sensual visions which involve the young priest. When she hears about the illicit marriage, she gets mad and falsely accuses the priest of sorcery and lewdness.Read more ›
In Chapter Three he focuses on the religious aspects of these tendencies to "desire - and desire, very often, with irresistable violence - the consciousness of being someone else."
In the Epilogue ["In amplification of material in Chapter Three)"], he expands on these ideas by discussing substance use and abuse: "Alcohol is but one of the many drugs employed by human beings as avenues of escape from the insulated self." He adds to this the use of "From poppy to curare, from Andean coca to Indian hemp and Siberian agaric, every plant or bush or fungus capable, when ingested, of stupifying or exciting or evoking visions....seems to prove that, always and everywhere, human beings have felt the radical inadequacy of their personal existence, the misery of being their insulate selves and not something else.."
He then continues with the "crowd delirium" of mass movements:
"The professional moralists who inveigh against drunkeness are strangely silent about the equally disgusting vice of herd-intoxication - of downward transcendence into subhumanity by the process of getting together in a mob." leading to "The final symptom of herd-intoxication is a manical violence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, first things first: if you're at all interested in the spiritual and intellectual life of 17th century France, then you need to read this book. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Chad Helms
Aldous Huxley write of a account of "true" possession of a boy. IntriguingPublished 10 months ago by JLKO
An interesting topic that reveals the true evil within human beings.Published 14 months ago by Joshua Mozie
Those who enjoyed watching the movie will fall out of their chairs when they read the book the script was made from. This is Huxley at his best. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Luc Archambault