Cover image for Damned : an illustrated history of the Devil
Damned : an illustrated history of the Devil
Muchembled, Robert, 1944-
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Uniform Title:
Diable! English
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Seuil/Chronicle, [2004]

Physical Description:
200 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
Europe invents the devil -- Satan among humankind -- Devilish women -- The sun sets on Satan -- Terror or pleasure?
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
NX652.D48 M8313 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Damnedexplores the long, dark history of one of the most influential figures in Western history: the Devil. With an extraordinary array of images from medieval illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance painting to modern cinema, comic strips, and advertising,Damnedportrays the Devil in both religious and secular realms, while the text traces the Devil's evolution from the sadistic beast of the monastic imagination to the Devil who lurks inside every pleasure-seeking individual today.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This gorgeously illustrated volume chronicles how the image of the devil in Western art has changed over the years. Muchembled divides the book into five sections, beginning with early images of the devil from the Middle Ages. The devil and his acolytes primarily showed up to torment sinners in grotesque, often sexual, ways. Subsequent sections deal with witches and sorcerers, who were believed to have consorted with the devil, and wicked women, whose tempting figures represented an almost satanic lure for otherwise pious men. Muchembled includes a diverse collection of images from artists such as Vasari, Bosch, and Goya, depicting the devil's visage in everything from a small imp to a sinister, distinctly sexual woman. But as he progresses to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Muchembled finds the devil losing his power to provoke fear; instead, he becomes a more human figure and sometimes even a comic one. Muchembled has done an admirable job of presenting the history of the devil in popular culture by mixing lively text with a variety of colorful renditions of Satan. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2005 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This wickedly attractive coffee-table book by Muchembled, a Parisian scholar who specializes in the history of witchcraft, traces the devil from the 12th century to the present. Satan, writes Muchembled, represents "the dark side of Western culture" and is a product of the human imagination, so any analysis of Old Scratch reveals a great deal about the changing landscapes of Europe and America through the ages. One particularly intriguing chapter touches on contemporary themes: how psychoanalysis has changed our view of the devil, how horror films have depicted Satan and how recent marketers have blithely employed his image to sell products. Muchembled doesn't have time for real depth of analysis in the short essays that form the text of this book, which is a pity, because he offers some provocative insights and sharp cultural critique. The real star is the book's full-color art, with its dazzling display of images from medieval manuscripts to contemporary comics. We see depictions of masks, cartoons, sketches, masters' paintings, facsimiles of broadsides, woodcuts and carvings of the devil through the ages. All are accompanied by Muchembled's incisive (and occasionally mordant) commentary. (Oct. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the 12th century, Europe invented the Devil, whose mission is the temptation and damnation of humankind. In five highly readable essays, Muchembled (cultural history, Univ. of Paris) presents the multiple traditions that spawned the myth and its progress from the 12th century to our own. He describes how Satan took hold of the popular imagination and how women, in particular, were actively persecuted for presumably consorting with Satan. Later, he shows the transition from the literal belief in Satan to evil as the dark side of the human condition and explores issues like the Freudian interpretation, the rise of the horror story, trivialization, and parody. Lest the reader be unimpressed by mere verbiage,the author includes an amazing assortment of historical images: vivid color plates, as well as drawings, lithographs, Hollywood and French movie stills, cartoons, and comic books of devils, temptations, and satanic rituals. Many are quaint and some are humorous, but as a caution, some images will be considered offensive. That said, this book is recommended for libraries with strong collections in cultural anthropology and Western civilization.-Ilene Skeen, Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.