Satan is not a theological concept, but a literary construct. Facing the Fiend places the character within a well-defined literary tradition. Satan is established to be a highly ambiguous figure, who plays a central narrative role in a wide variety of texts.
Acknowledging that the character of the devil is inherently problematic, Eva Marta Baillie deftly argues that the Satan of the Christian faith can be best understood ‘phenomenologically’ – through his roles and functions in stories. The author goes on to construct a detailed and wide-ranging picture of Satan’s depictions in literature, presented with persuasive flair and a strong command of the subject matter, while touching upon wider issues of evil, and how it too is best understood in a literary context.
Facing the Fiend offers an intriguing insight into the cultural representations of Satan, making for a thought-provoking and engaging read. Such a comprehensive study will appeal to those with an academic interest in the relationship between theology and literature, as well as to the general reader curious about the portrayal of religion in works of fiction.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Setting the Stage – The Birth of a Character
Part One: The Dwelling Place of Satan
1. Is Satan Evil?
2. Satan’s Biography: The Origins of the Satanic Narrative
3. Satan in Story and Myth
4. Satan and the Written Word
Part Two: Satanic Characters
5. The Restless Wanderer
6. The Tormented Shadow
7. The Zeroing Zero
8. The Creative Eliminator
9. The Stumbling Block
10. The Transgressor
Conclusion: Satan’s Salvation or the Redemption Lies in the Text
Endorsements and Reviews
Uniquely well placed to scour through material in several European languages, Baillie has produced a gripping exploration of ‘Satan’ – liar, corrupter, and adversary, his relatives, doubles, and human counterparts in all their ambiguity – in a splendid range of narratives. Fascinating and unnerving reading!
Ann Loades, Emeritus Professor of Divinity, University of Durham, and Honorary Professor of Divinity, University of St Andrews
Through the pages of literature Satan wanders as a character beyond redemption. Never more so than in the blood-soaked fiction of our own time, Satan lives through the lives of others – a fearful presence brought to our attention by this haunting and timely book.
David Jasper, Professor of Literature and Theology, University of Glasgow, and Distinguished Overseas Professor, Renmin University of China