The Devils of Loudun

Overview

1643: In one of history’s most sensational cases of mass possession and sexual hysteria, Urbain Grandier, a handsome seducer of women, and priest of the parish of Loudon, was found guilty of being in league with the devil and burnt at the stake. Huxley gives a vivid account of this bizarre tale of religious and sexual obsession.

Drama and history combine in this 17th century story of witchcraft and lust in a convent. "Fascinating, erudite and instilled with ...

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Overview

1643: In one of history’s most sensational cases of mass possession and sexual hysteria, Urbain Grandier, a handsome seducer of women, and priest of the parish of Loudon, was found guilty of being in league with the devil and burnt at the stake. Huxley gives a vivid account of this bizarre tale of religious and sexual obsession.

Drama and history combine in this 17th century story of witchcraft and lust in a convent. "Fascinating, erudite and instilled with intellectual vitality." The Times Literary Supplement

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Editorial Reviews

Saturday Review of Literature
A mirror in which modern man can see all that is rotten in his society and himself.
From Barnes & Noble
As the Church in early 17th-century France faced a loss of power and the great Protestant threat, clergymen were as disreputable a bunch as you could find--desperate to restore controls and not above manipulating events for their own self-interest. In this book, the author examines one of the most intriguing and controversial events of the day: the alleged possession by devils of the nuns at Loudun's Ursuline convent, and the trial of the man deemed responsible--the magnetic, Jesuit-schooled parson, Urbain Grandier. Huxley delves into the psychological overtones of this incident, explaining how the clergy, motivated by pettiness and revenge, used a group of hysterical women for their own ends, destroying in the process a man whose charm & charisma they envied. Exploring such areas as medieval law, theology, and the occult, the book asks: Who were the real devils of Loudun--the spirits said to possess the nuns, or the exorcists bent on Grandier's destruction?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760700679
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/18/1996
  • Pages: 340

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2001

    Fabulous insight into human nature

    This book is more about human nature than the life of Urbain Grandier, but the setting of Mr. Grandier's life provides no better fodder for such a discourse. Huxley enlightens us on the subject of man through the best medium possible: sarcasm. And the sarcasm's subtleties make it all the more humorous. The Devils of Loudun is no easy read, but for the interested, it is an outstanding compilation. I would strongly recommend it for any student (professional or otherwise) of philosophy.

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