demon lovers

‘…symbols of dangerous and forbidden acts denied by the conscious mind’ Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fiction T. Reed

You know those moments when a supernatural being appears in a woman’s bedroom, and she’s a bit unsettled but at the same time oddly pleased? Seems to be an everyday occurrence these days. But these demon lovers are also pretty common in Victorian gothic fiction, suggesting masculine penetration into hidden female spaces (architectural, physical and psychological), or female trespass into masculine modes of behaviour, independence and aggression.

angel and joyce in Buffy

demon in the kitchen

Demon lovers have been used in recent times (much as they were in the past) to introduce a certain permissiveness, allowing a character to do or want just about anything because, hey, supernatural magnetism, dream-state, infernal arts, or all of the above.

Jonathan Harker kissed by vampire women in Dracula

he’s engaged, but it’s okay because they’re demons and, you know, no choice and all that

The demon lover often bypasses parental or societal permission by entering through the window, or perhaps they disguise themselves as harmless, gain permission to enter and then wreak their particular form of pleasurable havoc (or just plain havoc).

zombie girl from zombieland film

she seemed so … pretty

Just as Victorian fiction created tableaux of innocence overpowered, surreptitiously inviting the illicit enjoyment of the reader, so more recent incarnations of the demon lover allow the main protagonist a free pass to indulge in aspects of their character otherwise concealed or forbidden. And that goes for the reader/viewer too. You might even see them as metaphors for our hidden desires.

You’re not going to pretend you didn’t know what that film/book was about when you bought it?


4 thoughts on “demon lovers

  1. “But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
    Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
    A savage place! as holy and enchanted
    As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
    By woman wailing for her demon-lover!”
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge – a man ahead of his time…


    • Here are two pupils
      whose moons of black
      transform to cripples
      all who look:
      -Sylvia Plath, on looking into the eyes of a demon lover


  2. Pingback: and love shall have no dominion | Ophelia's Fiction Blog

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