The Devils of Loudun (Classic History Series)

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9780141390574: The Devils of Loudun (Classic History Series)

Urbain Grandier, parson of the French town of Loudun, was tortured and burned at the stake in 1634. He was accused of being in league with the Devil and seducing an entire convent of nuns, in what is the most sensational case of mass possession and sexual hysteria in history. Charming, handsome, dandyish and promiscuous, as soon as Grandier arrived in Loudun it became clear that he took more than a pastoral interest in his female parishioners. His reputation for arousing extraordinary sexual passions in the townswomen spread to the Prioress of the local convent, Sister Jeanne, who became obsessed with the "delicious monster". Soon all the nuns were gripped by fits and convulsions, falling into frenzied orgies of lustful depravity that attracted tourists from all over France. But was Grandier really the sorcerer responsible for their possession, or was it a political frame-up from Cardinal Richelieu down, to get this arrogant, womanizing priest out of the way? Aldous Huxley's account, which was made into a salacious film by Ken Russell, is full of details of witchcraft, gruesone exorcisms and the superstitions of an age haunted by devils.

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Review:

"Huxley has reconstructed with skill, learning and horror one of the most appalling incidents in the history of witch-hunting during its seventeenth-century heyday. The Devils of Loudun is fascinating, erudite, and instinct with intellectual vitality" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Huxley's analysis of motive, his exposition of the unconscious causes of behaviour, his exposure of the perversions to which religious emotion is subject, his discursions on the witch cult, on mass hysteria, on sexual eccentricity have the brilliance that all his writing has had from the very beginning" (Spectator)

"One of Huxley's best books" (Guardian)

"His masterpiece, and perhaps the most enjoyable book about spirituality ever written. In telling the grotesque, bawdy and true story of a 17th-century convent of cloistered French nuns who contrived to have a priest they never met burned alive ...Huxley painlessly conveys a wealth of information about mysticism and the unconscious" (Washington Post)

Book Description:

Huxley tells the strange true story of mass demonic possession and sexual hysteria which took place in the small town of Loudun in France, in the 1600s

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