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: Lucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture

by  Per Faxneld

According to the Bible, Eve was the first to heed Satan’s advice to eat of the forbidden fruit. The notion of woman as the Devil’s accomplice is prominent throughout the history of Christianity and has been used to legitimate the subordination of wives and daughters. During the nineteenth century, rebellious females performed counter-readings of this misogynist tradition. Hereby, Lucifer was reconceptualized as a feminist liberator of womankind, and Eve became a heroine. In these reimaginings, Satan is an ally in the struggle against a patriarchy supported by God the Father and his male priests. The book delineates how such Satanic feminism is expressed in a number of nineteenth-century esoteric works, literary texts, autobiographies, pamphlets and journals, newspaper articles, paintings, sculptures, and even artefacts of consumer culture such as jewellery. The analysis focuses on interfaces between esotericism, literature, art, and the political realm. New light is thus shed on neglected aspects of the intellectual history of feminism, Satanism, and revisionary mythmaking. The scope of the study makes it valuable not only for historians of religion but also for those with a general interest in cultural history (or specific aspects of it like gender history, romanticism, or decadent-symbolist art and literature).