[SATAN, OCCULT, NORTHERN ENGLAND PRINTING]
[DEFOE, Daniel]. The History of the Devil, Ancient and Modern. In Two Parts. Part First, contains, A State of the Devil’s Circumstances, from his Expulsion out of Heaven, to the Creation; with Remarks on the Several Mistakes Concerning the Fall. Part Second, Containing, His more Private Conduct Down to the Present Times; His Government, His Appearances, His Manner of Working, and the Tools He Works With. With a Description of the Devil’s Dwelling. Durham: Printed and Sold by G. Walker, Bookseller, Sadler Street. 1822.
(230 x 150) pp. 352. Two parts in one. Complete. Signatures: π 4, B-Y8, Z4. Deckled edges. Browning and foxing consistent with age. Two areas of dog-earing by an over-interested historic reader & one strip of yellow paper removed (at great expense of potential cursing) acting as a book mark. Paper weakening p. 156-157. Contemporary cardboard binding. Loose, but present, first fly leaf. Overall GOOD condition.
Listed on the Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books), Daniel Defoe’s “The Political History of the Devil,” is spiced up even further in this Durham printing. The printers omit the “political” from the title and add in a “a description of the Devil’s dwelling” (Have they been invited for tea? How do they know?). Defoe’s work “affirms, and has good vouchers” for the authenticity of the esoteric knowledge provided in this book, deemed to be dangerous by the Catholic Church. Milton apparently got it very wrong in ‘Paradise Lost,’ as an entire chapter is dedicated to “Some of Mr. Milton’s mistakes about [Satan’s fall].” Beautifully and very creepily written, a sort of progenitor to the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” as we see Satan causing various events, ancient and modern.
The various stains of time only serve to heighten the aesthetic of a book, steeped in Victorian spiritualism, interest in the occult, & perhaps a curse or two.