Hilarious dialogue, telling imagery, and one of the most paranoid and depraved characters in fiction made visualizing this text taking place physically before me easy.
Woman is almost wholly missing from the Romantic confrontation with the arctic. Where she tries to enter, she is silenced, ineffective. But in this Victorian landscape we witness some permeability in which saving the tainted man is possible through, of course, the sweet truth of a pure, angelic woman. But here, the artic, Dante-esque devil meets his foil and one soul has been saved. The heroic act occurs within the domestic sphere in the safety of the English shrubbery.
Gogol's protagonist comes face to face with the temptation of what he wants most. For Tchartkoff, this is money and fame. He buys the wayward painting because he falls in love with it, its undeniable expression of talent and of something else: its evocation of the feminine diabolical. What makes this devil -- like so many devils before and after it in literature -- "feminine" is its Asiatic garb
My primary interest in the text was to understand how Bulgakov fashions the devil and gender. Unfortunately, he seemed not to take up the topic very interestingly.
The Innocence of the Devil is a labyrinth of memory, flared-through with some shots of spellbinding imagery. At its core is a political challenge, a daring re-visioning of gender roles of the past, present, and for the future generations. The devil is, as usual, a woman -- at least temporarily.
"Um," says Andrea Sachs, that boring and undeveloped accessory of the "devil," Miranda Priestly who is the editor of Runway fashion magazine. "Um," Sachs repeats as prominent literary people insist how eloquent she is. "Um," shouts Andrea Sachs as I turn another page in a novel that appears to have very little to do with the devil or with Prada.
Reading The Sorrows of Satan I felt bad for Ramanez. But then, too, Corelli does not want me to only feel bad for Satan; she wants me to extend my sympathies to Sybil as well -- because the predicaments of Satan and the New Woman are not dissimilar.