THE DEVILS OF LOUDUN by Aldous Huxley
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THE DEVILS OF LOUDUN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An exhaustive exhumation of the phenomenon of possession which occurred in a convent at Loudun during the 17th century which permits a speculative inquiry not only into the nature of psychological hysteria and hallucination, but also- and more widely- into the meaning of spiritual attitudes and beliefs. And against the superstition and sensuality and worldly conduct of this age, a story unfolds which is not only sharp in drama but in contrasts of character in the three who were involved; Urbain Grandier, a parson, but also a wit and a lecher of considerable charm whose seduction of a virgin, who was to bear his child, brought on a scandal and a trial which did not terminate his career; Surin, also a parson, but a zealot and a neurotic; and Soeur Jeanne, who became a Prioress at the Convent of Loudun whose hallucinations were blamed on the fascinating, abominable Grandier. And since the Prioress and her nuns continued in their state of hysteria and chronic sexual excitement, and since Surin failed in his attempt to exorcise the demoniac sisters, Grandier was arrested and brought to trial again, was brutally tortured and died protesting his innocence, only to be outlived by the furious dementia which continued at Loudun until the remorseful death of its Prioress.....A study of frenzied, cataleptic seizures and manifestations which developed to a point of spectacle in its day, here interpreted with psychological acuity, with a sense of irony and paradox, and with the respect of an intellectual for spiritual concerns.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1952
Publisher: Harper