The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley
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Synopsis

As the Church in early 17th-century France faced a loss of power and the great Protestant threat, clergymen were as disreputable a bunch as you could find--desperate to restore controls and not above manipulating events for their own self-interest. In this book, the author examines one of the most intriguing and controversial events of the day: the alleged possession by devils of the nuns at Loudun's Ursuline convent, and the trial of the man deemed responsible--the magnetic, Jesuit-schooled parson, Urbain Grandier. Huxley delves into the psychological overtones of this incident, explaining how the clergy, motivated by pettiness and revenge, used a group of hysterical women for their own ends, destroying in the process a man whose charm & charisma they envied. Exploring such areas as medieval law, theology, and the occult, the book asks: Who were the real devils of Loudun--the spirits said to possess the nuns, or the exorcists bent on Grandier's destruction?
 

About Aldous Huxley

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Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) is the author of the classic novels Island, Eyeless in Gaza, and The Genius and the Goddess, as well as such critically acclaimed nonfiction works as The Devils of Loudun, The Doors of Perception, and The Perennial Philosophy. Born in Surrey, England, and educated at Oxford, he died in Los Angeles.
 
Published January 1, 1952 by Barnes Noble Books. 340 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel, Self Help, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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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 out...

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The Wall Street Journal

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Brian P. Levack recommends "The Devils of Loudun," by Aldous Huxley; "
Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern France," by Sarah Ferber; "
Spirit ...

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Examiner

Director of such films as Altered States, the film version of The Who's Tommy, and The Devils which I will discuss.

Dec 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Devils of Loudun (P.S.)

Project MUSE

Yet, just as in Grotowski's theatre pieces, the sacredness is blasphemed against: we see the priest Grandier seduce young women and Cardinal Richelieu transformed into the devil himself.

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