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A Fallen Idol Is Still a GodLermontov and the Quandaries of Cultural Transition$
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Elizabeth Cheresh Allen

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753708

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753708.001.0001

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The Attenuation of Romantic Evil

The Attenuation of Romantic Evil

A Demon Undone

(p.84) Four The Attenuation of Romantic Evil
A Fallen Idol Is Still a God
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines how Mikhail Lermontov's long and often-revised narrative poem The Demon attenuates the Romantic vision of ethics while drawing on Romantic ideas and images of spiritual transcendence and demonic rebellion. It analyzes four examples of Romantic poetry and prose centering on demonic figures that influenced Lermontov's imagination: Alfred de Vigny's Eloa, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Lord Byron's Cain, and Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. The chapter argues that The Demon is not a failed effort at a Romantic tale of evil but a successful artistic achievement expressing a view of life to which the exalted Romantic visions of good and evil no longer pertain.

Keywords:   Demon, Mikhail Lermontov, demonic rebellion, spiritual transcendence, Romantic poetry, Romantic prose, Eloa, Faust, Cain, Melmoth the Wanderer

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