“Son, the greatest trick the Devil pulled was convincing the world there was only one of him.”
― David Wong, John Dies at the End
They say,“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”I often write about the Devil and Demons from a Occultist’s point of view,but what about the great stories in Literature and the Pulp postmodern novel? As any Priest or Satanist will tell you, the Devil has exercised the strongest attraction upon the human mind. The imagination of man has from earliest times persistently played with the Personality of Evil. The fiend has never failed in fascination. He is an everlasting fountain of pathos and poetry,Horror and even Romance. A perennial power for interest, inspiration and achievement. So large a place has Diabolus taken in our imaginations.,whether or not we favor the belief in the Devil’s spiritual entity apart from man’s, we always show a deep interest in his literary incarnations.Let’s take a Look at The Hidden Left Hand’s 5 Good Books about Old Mr. Scratch, shall we?
1.Melmoth the Wanderer (1820):By: Charles Robert Maturin. John Melmoth, in a satanic deal, exchanges his soul for immortality and wanders through the world offering to release the sufferings and hardships of the one who will next take over his deal with the devil.”Melmoth” can be compared to Cervantes’ “Don Quixote,”. Where Don Quixote was a wandering knight, pledged to help the helpless, Melmoth is a wandering agent of evil, whose mission is to prey on the helpless. Melmoth has 150 years to tempt the indigent and desperate into selling their souls for wealth, power, or simple relief, and trading places with him.I enjoyed it as a young man and found it the goto Gothic story with a Satanic twist.It even has a bit of Stoker’s “Dracula”, writing style.The various stories are pieced together by eyewitnesses, interviewers, and ancient manuscripts, often at several removes from their originals. There is even one poor sod in the novel who is collecting material to write a book about Melmoth the Wanderer.
2.The Divine Comedy: The Inferno By Dante Alighieri, There is no getting around listing this here, if you have never heard of it before you live in Borno, keep wild pigs, and have never seen paper.All I will say about it is that in each circle, Dante chose a well-known figure of the time or from history or legend to illustrate the sin. As Dante descends from circle to circle, he encounters sinners whose sins become increasingly hateful, spiteful, offensive, murderous, and traitorous. He ends with Satan, eating the three greatest traitors in the world, each in one of his three mouths, at the center of the Earth.Hell of a story, no?
3.Memnoch the Devil , 1997 by Anne Rice , in this, the fifth book of her Vampire Chronicles she requests sympathy for the Devil( this was before her lapse back into heavy catholicism). Having survived his near-fatal reacquaintance with human mortality in The Tale of the Body Thief (1992), the world-weary vampire Lestat is recruited by the biblical Devil, Memnoch, to help fight a cruel and negligent God. The bulk of the novel is a retelling of the Creation story from the point of view of the fallen angel, who blames his damnation on his refusal to accept human suffering as part of God’s divine plan.I have only one thing to say, if you want religion read the bible, if you want an amazing story read memnoch the devil.
4.The Scarlet Gospels 2015 by Clive Barker, the culmination of the Hellraiser mythos that began with the novella The Hellbound Heart. It features the world-weary detective of the occult Harry D’Amour locked in a death-struggle with the most fascinating fictional satanic creation since Milton’s Satan (in the great epic poem Paradise Lost) led his dark minions in an infernal revolution: the master Cenobite, Pinhead. This comparison has greater significance than you might think.Let me put it to you this way,Pinhead has now developed much grander ambitions that involve Lucifer’s unoccupied throne,so once again, is it Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?
5.Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann, John E. Woods (Translator), How could I not end with Faust? This story has been retooled so many times to fit the place it was written,Thomas Mann’s last great novel, first published in 1947 and now rendered into English by John E. Woods, it is the tale of one Adrian Leverkühn, born early in the 20th century, who trades his soul for the ability to compose brilliant music. Of course this is a limited pact, in his case for 24 years. His story is told by a childhood (and adult) friend Serenus Zeitblom, who also presents the changes in German culture during the years, ending with the bombing of Germany by the Allies and the encroaching Russian army. Leverkühn’s life story is a brilliant allegory of the rise of the Third Reich, of Germany’s renunciation of its own humanity and its embrace of ambition and its nihilism. It is also Mann’s most profound meditation on the German genius – both national and individual – and the terrible responsibilities of the truly great artist. The allegories are plentiful, the writing is often amazing and at times, not an easy read.But, would the Devil have it any other way?
I know,there are many more just as good if not better; but with only 5 to list is the cream of the crop for me to lay at your feet, I plan on reading I, Lucifer By Glen Duncan soon, so if I find that one worthy of you,My Diabolical Friends, I shall Review it here as well.
Art piece “In the Details” and Words By; Vincent Piazza Copyright 2015