THE POWERS OF EVIL by Richard Cavendish


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Cavendish, who climbed into the bubbling cauldron before this sort of malefaction became the craze it is today--he did a guide to The Black Arts back in 1967--has done quite an exhaustive job in researching bats, carrion, skeletons, vampires, bogeymen, banshees and the many incarnations of Satan which stalk the earth. Drawing on Judeo-Christian tradition, on the nether-world gods of Greece and Rome, and on folklore and legend from all over, Cavendish supplies an enormous amount of creepy evidence for our enormous fears of things that go bump in the night. He posits an ""old and deep horror of the chaotic, the unformed and deformed, the shapeless thing which has too many shapes"" as well as horns, hooves, a tail, fangs that draw blood, eyes that see in the dark, outsized genitals, and a body that casts no shadow. From the apocalyptic visions of The Book of Daniel to Iona and Peter Opie's studies of superstitions among British schoolchildren in the 1950's, from the ""dank house of chill Hades"" to the 133,306,668 angels who, medieval churchmen computed, fell with Lucifer, the pantheon of demons is mighty and the Devil works in mysterious ways. According to one authority Hobbes' Leviathan, Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Byron's Manfred and Kafka's The Trial were all produced under his personal auspices. And perhaps Mr. Cavendish's catalogue of the vile as well?

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 1975
Publisher: Putnam