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Witches, Anarchism and Evolutionism: Stanislaw Przybyszewski’s fin-de-siècle Satanism and the Demonic Feminine
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
2012 (English)In: The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity / [ed] Per Faxneld, Jesper Aa. Petersen, Oxford University Press, 2012, 53-77 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter presents the Satanism propagated by the Decadent author Stanislaw Przybyszewski (1868–1927), and interprets the role women play in it. Unlike other literary Satanists, Przybyszewski's sympathy for the Devil was sustained through many works, he publicly declared himself a Satanist and the ideas were well-developed enough to be called a system. Przybyszewski, the chapter argues, was therefore “the first Satanist” in a strict sense. The core themes in his thinking are a celebration of evolution (anchored in social Darwinism) and sexual lust, a pessimist view of human existence, and lastly a nihilist anarchist will to destruction, all presented using a shock tactic of semantic inversion typical of the Decadent movement, turning “evil”, “degeneration” and other usually obviously negative words into designations for something positive. Reading Przybyszewski's seemingly misogynist texts about witches within this framework, a plausible interpretation is that he is not at all slandering her but rather pays homage to her as a vitally necessary representative of the evolutionary “good evil” his system is centered around.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2012. 53-77 p.
Keyword [en]
Satanism, Stanislaw Przybyszewski, decadence, women, evolutionism, anarchism, witches, misogyny
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
History of Religion
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-84738DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199779239.003.0003ISBN: 978-0-19-977924-6ISBN: 9780199779239OAI: diva2:581337
Available from: 2012-12-31 Created: 2012-12-31 Last updated: 2016-10-20Bibliographically approved

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