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  • Published: 1 June 2005
  • ISBN: 9780099477761
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $22.99

The Devils of Loudun




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

A gripping biography by the author of Brave New World

In 1634 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 devil to seduce an entire convent of nuns.

Grandier maintained his innocence to the end but four years after his death the nuns were still being subjected to exorcisms 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.

  • Published: 1 June 2005
  • ISBN: 9780099477761
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley was born on 26 July 1894 near Godalming, Surrey. He began writing poetry and short stories in his early 20s, but it was his first novel, Crome Yellow (1921), which established his literary reputation. This was swiftly followed by Antic Hay (1923), Those Barren Leaves (1925) and Point Counter Point (1928) – bright, brilliant satires in which Huxley wittily but ruthlessly passed judgement on the shortcomings of contemporary society. For most of the 1920s Huxley lived in Italy and an account of his experiences there can be found in Along the Road (1925). The great novels of ideas, including his most famous work Brave New World (published in 1932, this warned against the dehumanising aspects of scientific and material 'progress') and the pacifist novel Eyeless in Gaza (1936) were accompanied by a series of wise and brilliant essays, collected in volume form under titles such as Music at Night (1931) and Ends and Means (1937). In 1937, at the height of his fame, Huxley left Europe to live in California, working for a time as a screenwriter in Hollywood. As the West braced itself for war, Huxley came increasingly to believe that the key to solving the world's problems lay in changing the individual through mystical enlightenment. The exploration of the inner life through mysticism and hallucinogenic drugs was to dominate his work for the rest of his life. His beliefs found expression in both fiction (Time Must Have a Stop,1944, and Island, 1962) and non-fiction (The Perennial Philosophy, 1945; Grey Eminence, 1941; and the account of his first mescaline experience, The Doors of Perception, 1954). Huxley died in California on 22 November 1963.

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Praise for The Devils of Loudun

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

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