Satan Unbound: The Devil in Old English Narrative Literature

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University of Toronto Press, 1 ene. 2001 - 196 páginas

The devil is perhaps the single-most recurring character in Old English narrative literature, and yet his function in the highly symbolic narrative world of hagiography has never been systematically studied. Certain inconsistencies characteristically accompany the nebulous devil in early medieval narrative accounts - he is simultaneously bound in hell and yet roaming the earth; he is here identified as the chief of demons, and there taken as a collective term for the totality of demons; he is at one point a medical parasite and at another a psychological principle.

Satan Unbound argues that these open-ended registers in the conceptualisation of the devil allowed Anglo-Saxon writers a certain latitude for creative mythography, even within the orthodox tradition. The narrative tensions resulting from the devil's protean character opaquely reflect deep-rooted anxieties in the early medieval understanding of the territorial distribution of the moral cosmos, the contested spiritual provinces of the demonic and the divine. The ubiquitous conflict between saint and demon constitutes an ontological study of the boundaries between the holy and the unholy, rather than a psychological study of temptation and sin.

 

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Índice

Literature and Cultural Archaeology
12
Demonic Instigation in Narrative Literature
28
The Range of Narrative Functions
42
The Devil as Observer
57
The Devil of the Air
70
The Devil and the Demons
87
Bedes Ecclesiastical History
94
The Guthlac Cycle
103
Conclusion
115
The Devil as Idiom
123
Bibliography
165
Index
187
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Sobre el autor (2001)

Peter Dendle is an assistant professor of English at Pennsylvania, State University, Mont Alto.

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