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Satanic FeminismLucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture$
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Per Faxneld

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190664473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190664473.001.0001

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Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Liberating Devil

Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Liberating Devil

(p.463) 11 Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Liberating Devil
Satanic Feminism

Per Faxneld

Oxford University Press

Chapter11 scrutinizes Sylvia Townsend Warner’s (1893–1978) debut novel Lolly Willowes (1926), which tells the tale of spinster Laura ‘Lolly’ Willowes, who ends up becoming a witch liberated and empowered by Satan. The book caused a major stir, and is, it is argued, the most explicit and conspicuous literary example ever of programmatic Satanic feminism. It is demonstrated how Warner drew on contemporary understandings of witch cults and worked very much within a pre-existing tradition of Satanic feminism. Hence, the focus is in particular on aspects of the text that relate to the motifs seen repeatedly in preceding chapters, such as demonic lesbianism, a view of Christianity as a central pillar of patriarchy, and nature being coded as Satan’s feminine realm where he can offer immunity from the pressures of a male-dominated society. The chapter closes with a consideration of the critical reception of the novel.

Keywords:   Satan, witch, spinster, feminism, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes, nature, lesbianism

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