Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fiction

Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fiction

Copyright Date: 1988
Edition: 1
Pages: 182
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    Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fiction
    Book Description:

    The hero of the story is a demonic lover -- dark, handsome, mysterious, and dangerously seductive. The heroine -- beautiful, and innocent -- willingly becomes his victim and is destroyed by him. This story of demon-lover and victim, always charged with passion, has been told over and over, from Greek mythology through contemporary fiction and films.

    Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fictionis the first historical and structural exploration of the demon-lover motif, with emphasis on major works of British fiction from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries; it will interest those concerned with gender role conflicts in literature and with the mutual influence of oral and written texts of folklore and formal literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5049-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. ONE Woman Wailing for Her Demon-Lover!
    (pp. 1-19)

    The body of literature for any period of history reflects, in part, the fears, conflicts, and ethical concerns inherent in the culture which produces its novelists and poets. Although the literary works of any particular century tend to reflect the social mores of that period and are therefore tied to historical interpretation, certain themes in fiction transcend the cultural milieu in which the works were formed. Certain thematic patterns or motifs continue to appear in literature throughout time, patterns that may in fact be traced from the earliest Greek myths through the Bible and influential works of fiction to popular...

  5. TWO Demons as Lovers
    (pp. 20-34)

    Demons and the possibility of seduction and defilement at their hands have always fascinated people. When Rubens painted hisRape of Europa, for example, he captured a mythical moment, a tableau dramatizing Zeus’s seduction of Europa. Taking the form of a bull, Zeus carries Europa off to Crete against her will. The seduction motifs found in art and music (e.g., Mozart’sDon Giovanni) have their counterparts in literature. We have an early biblical example in the demon who seduced Eve in the Garden of Eden. Stories about demons are part of our cultural heritage and are represented through the various...

  6. THREE “The Demon Lover” Ballad
    (pp. 35-53)

    Many scholars believe that the ballad form originated during the Middle Ages. Long before that, however, there were myths, legends, tales, and other genres peculiar to folk cultures that no doubt provided various themes and stories later adopted by balladeers. As M.J. Hodgart and others inform us, folklore apparently traveled along the trade routes of Europe (The Ballads, p. 84), resulting in a cross-cultural exchange of folkloric traditions. Consequently, British folktales, ballads, and other forms often resemble older European and Scandinavian versions; in the same way, those found in America often have British roots.⁶

    Many ballad scholars believe that the...

  7. FOUR The Motif in British Fiction
    (pp. 54-92)

    The demon-lover figure represented in “The Demon Lover” ballad has evolved from ancient superstitions or, as some believe, from actual psychic experiences recorded in the collective unconscious of humankind. Tales of incubi, vampires, ghosts, and demons can be traced historically to the earliest stories ever recorded. Establishing whether there is any truth to these beliefs is beyond the scope of this investigation. Central to this study, however, is the recognition that imaginative portrayals of demon-lovers and victims have always been with us.

    During the early centuries of the Roman Catholic Church, the subject of incubi and succubi was much debated....

  8. FIVE Demon-Lovers and Their Victims
    (pp. 93-117)

    “The Demon Lover” ballad provides a stark view of a particular aggressor/victim relationship that has been widely expressed throughout literary history. The demon-lover conflict expressed in skeletal form by the ballad may be traced from Greek mythology through the Old and New Testaments and strongly resembles the accounts by “witches” of their alleged encounters with Satan from the eleventh through the seventeenth centuries. The demon-lover motif runs through many of the ballads and tales of Britain and is echoed in works of fiction by major writers from Richardson to D.H. Lawrence. The tradition continues in contemporary literature as well, including...

  9. APPENDIX A. Child Ballad Texts
    (pp. 118-132)
  10. APPENDIX B. Davis Ballad Texts
    (pp. 133-143)
  11. APPENDIX C. Miscellaneous Ballad Texts
    (pp. 144-150)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 151-154)
    (pp. 155-162)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 163-171)