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Demons: Mediators between This World and the Other

Essays on Demonic Beings from the Middle Ages to the Present


Ruth Petzoldt and Paul Neubauer

This volume presents a chronological series of essays on various demonic traits and traditions handed down from classical antiquity, reinterpreted and systematized in the Middle Ages in Europe, and extending their influences to our present day and culture. The main focus lies on the adaptation and reformulation of specific demonological constellations in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, combining ethnological approaches with concepts of cultural history and their reflection in the arts and in literature. These superhuman and supernatural entities present us with a multitude of forms, figures, and functions - from helpful messengers and mediators to frightful and devilish antagonists of the humans they encounter. As model explanations of that which may not be explained in any other way they offer answers and interpretations of the 'Other' outside humanity as well as inside the human being.
Contents: Paul Neubauer/Ruth Petzoldt: Introduction - Leander Petzoldt: The Universe of Demons and the World of the Middle Ages - Norbert H. Ott: Facts and Fiction: The Iconography of Demons in German Vernacular Manuscripts - Winfried Frey: Sibylla Led Astray: Sibyls in Medieval Literature - Simonetta Cochis: The Sailor Demon of Vulcano in Antoine de la Sale's Geography of the Demonic, L'Excursion aux îles Lipari - Norbert H. Ott: Encounters with the Other World: The Medieval Iconography of Alexander the Great and Henry the Lion - Donald Ward: Cynocephalic Demons in Medieval Song, Legend, and Epic - Ludovica Sebregondi: The Devil in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Florentine Engravings - Albrecht Classen: Medieval Answers to the Strange World Outside: Foreigners and the Foreign as Cultural Challenges and Catalysts - Ruth Petzoldt: The Comeback of the Vampires: The History of the Motif from Medieval Legends to Contemporary Literature - Paul Neubauer: The Demon of Loss and Longing: The Function of the Ghost in Toni Morrison's Beloved.