‘…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.
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.
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).
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?