The Devils Of Loudun . Aldous Huxley He had been found guilty of conspiring with the devil to seduce an entire convent of nuns in what was the most. HUXLEY’S MASTERPIECE AND PERHAPS THE MOST ENJOYABLE BOOK ABOUT SPIRITUALITY EVER WRITTEN..” — Washington Post Book WorldAldous. The Devils of Loudun: Aldous Huxley: most important later works are The Devils of Loudun (), a detailed psychological study of a historical incident in .

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The Devils of Loudun

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley. In Urbain Grandier, a handsome and dissolute priest of the parish of Loudun was tried, tortured and burnt at the stake. He had been found guilty of conspiring with the luodun to seduce an entire convent of nuns in what was the most sensational case of mass possession and sexual hysteria in history. Grandier maintained his innocence to the end and four years after his d In Urbain Grandier, a handsome and dissolute priest of the parish of Loudun was tried, tortured and burnt at the stake.

Grandier huzley his innocence to the end and four years after koudun death the nuns were still being subjected to huxly to free them from their demonic bondage.

Huxley’s vivid account of this bizarre tale of religious and sexual obsession transforms our understanding of the medieval world. Paperbackpages. Published April 7th by Vintage Classics first published LoudunFrance. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Devils of Loudunplease sign up. Is there a translation that includes notes for the French and German passages?

There are substantial passages in French that are beyond me and the German vocabulary is extraordinary in the context of a novel. I’ve read many historical novels, but none like this. Chapter 3 is a lecture on 17th century French philosophy and includes references to William James. It is very clear and most passages are translated. It is not a novel, though. It is an essay on a real story from the Seventeenth Century, and Huxley is not the only one who wrote about it.

This explains the chapters about mistycism, and the Appendix. Maybe the edition I read is difficult to find in America. I borrowed it from the library in Galway, Ireland See 2 questions about The Devils of Loudun…. Lists with This Book. This is probably one of the most interesting and important books I’ve ever read.

Let me say first that huxlfy spite of the tag-line it actually has od nothing to do with devils, or “demon possession” as such. It’s lamentable for several reasons.

One is simply that it misrepresents the book. I mean, if you’re looking for something that deals with actual demon possession, or a piece of lurid fiction dealing wi This is probably one of the most interesting and important books I’ve ever read. I mean, if you’re looking for something that deals with actual demon possession, or a piece of lurid fiction dealing with similar subject matter, this book probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

And, if you’re NOT interested in demon possession, the tag-line will keep you from reading the book. But I think the worst thing about huxpey is that sales need to be boosted to begin with. This is a book that should be read. I mean, it’s too bad more people huxlye read or even heard of it.

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It deals with actual events, that’s true. It also deals with an alleged case of demon possession: But it’s not what it sounds like. A certain corrupt priest Urbain Grandier offended some people in high places, and ultimately he was accused of witchcraft and blamed for the “possession” of a convent full of Ursuline nuns.

BOOK REVIEW: The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley | the !n(tro)verted yogi

The possession was more likely hysteria. The sorcery charge was bunk, and most of the people involved zldous this to be the case. So, on the face of it, the book is about the disastrous mix of Church and State in early 17th Century France.

But that’s not really what it’s about, either. I mean, to bill it as a history book or a book about politics would be equally misguided.

The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley

Huxley uses this particular episode from history as an entry into a larger discussion about spiritual life. He calls it self-transendence, and offers an in-depth discussion of some of the principles that are common to most religions. Not the simple stuff: I mean, it’s not like he’s just saying “most religions say that murder is wrong. It’s interesting, because at times he makes ironic or even sarcastic comments, and that’s normally the refuge of a weaker writer, a writer who sneers at the world, dismisses the very idea of demon possession or even plain old spirituality as quaint fantasy.

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He cites well documented psychic phenomena ESP, for example as evidence of a world beyond the strictly physical world as we understand it. If it’s possible that the human devilz can tap into another mind, then those minds must share something on some non-physical level. One can not, therefore, rule out the possibility that a will or an intellect can exist on a non-physical deevils.

There is no reason to believe that all such wills that all “entities” existing outside the physical world ,oudun we know it are well meaning and nice. Whether or not they’re “demons” proper is sort of beside the point. In case you’re thinking this is all sort of dark, I should mention that he spends a lot of time emphasizing the positive what he calls Original Virtue, rather than Original Sin.

Original Sin he defines in terms of the human capacity for evil, Original Virtue, our capacity for good. In case you’re thinking this is all sort of flaky, I should mention that he also devotes considerable attention to psychology and psychiatry, as well. It’s not as though he buys the idea louun a spritual world without first exploring the possibility that some spiritual experiences are actually manifestations of mental disorders.

He also devotes considerable attention to matters of law, doctrine, et cetera. At any rate, Loudnu not doing the book justice. There was no point at which I felt as though I was in the midst of a load of spooky b.

It’s never less than well researched and well reasoned. And it’s sort of about everything. Politics, religion, spirituality, psychology, philosophy, history, society, art, justice, responsibility, sexuality, nature: And it’s all framed by this fascinating story about this priest and this convent and the political and personal intrigues that came together surrounding them.

The Devils of Loudun was first published inI think, and when I finished reading it, I thought about all the stuff I read in school, the critical theory that’s come out of the academic community and the religious and political discourse that’s come out sinceand I just felt like something had gone terribly wrong. That all that discourse is so pinheaded and narrow-minded. That there was this flash of intelligent thinking about the world in this book, and that somehow it’s been neglected, that the conversation went in some other direction, and we’ve been in darkness ever since.

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Maybe I just haven’t read enough. Probably I haven’t read enough. But I’ve read a lot, and I’ve never run into anything quite like this before. I cannot recommend it more highly. I first read this book in high school and it made a great impression on me. At the time I first read this work I was also researching a paper on chur I first read this book in high school and it made a great impression on me.

At the time I first read this work I was also researching a paper on church doctrine, and had just read an English translation of the Malleus Maleficarum. That school term was a bit depressing, what with all the reminders of how incredibly shitty people can be in the interest of doing the right and proper thing.

I recently came across the Devils of Loudun again and decided to reread it. This was a good move. He carefully, almost relentlessly exposes the self-serving motives of the people involved without resorting to the complacency of hindsight. Although not a work of fiction, his narrative style helps the reader feel that they are witnessing the events and, my god this is not a happy experience.

As a mature reader I more fully appreciate the behavior of the Ursuline nuns who Grandier was supposed to have corrupted. The damaging and hysterical testimony of the Mother Superior in particular, was born of the severe sexual, political, and societal constraints placed on women at the time. Grandier, an arrogant bon vivant, was at most guilty of being incredibly foolish by alienating the great and powerful Richelieu. Laubardemont, who was of the same family as the Mother Superior, abdicated personal responsibility in the course of his actions with the same ruthless efficiency as a Nazi prison guard.

The community in which the trail and execution took place provides an example of group think and mass hysteria, reminding me how little we have changed in the last three hundred years. Yet rereading the text somehow did not depress me this time. Perhaps my coping mechanisms have matured along with the rest of me, or it could be that I knew what to expect. This story was made into a Ken Russell film in the seventies called, The Devils. I find the film kinda meh, except for the intelligent performance of Vanessa Redgrave as the Mother Superior.

I have mentioned the Devils of Loudun throughout the years and find that most people know nothing of it. For the life of me I cannot fathom why more people have not read this book. Jan 01, Jeffrey Taylor rated it it was amazing. This book requires much of the reader and makes no concession to popularity. It speaks to a reader devoted to truth and careful analysis who holds the author and the reader to superlative standards.