Anatole France

Over at Religion Dispatches, Bernard Schweizer provides an entertaining, albeit somewhat belated, review of Anatole France’s satirical 1914 novel Revolt of the Angels.

As in Philip Pullman’s recent His Dark Materials trilogy, in Revolt of the Angels, God is a cruel despot who is overthrown by angels, who in turn take his place. However, in Anatole France’s novel, the heavenly revolution is quickly followed by terror. After Satan assumes the throne, power corrupts him, and things quickly start to go downhill until they descend to the unthinkable …

And Satan found pleasure in praise. . . . Satan, whose flesh had crept, in days gone by, at the idea that suffering prevailed in the world, now felt himself inaccessible to pity. He regarded suffering and death as the happy results of omnipotence and sovereign kindness. And the savor of blood of victims rose upward towards him like sweet incense. He fell to condemning intelligence and to hating curiosity. . . . Dense fumes of Theology filled his brain.

Just as I always thought: Satan loves Theology.

You can get the book on pdf, for free, here: Revolt of the Angels (26.9 mb). Great moustache.