Detail from British Library, Add MS 42130, f. 54v.

In this (belated) episode marking our seventh anniversary, we learn about the infernal realms, straight from the devil’s mouth, going from a 11th-century Old English text to the 16th-century stage. We also learn why you shouldn’t attack your father with an ax and what demonic possession has in common with e. Coli.

Today’s Texts

  • Kemble, John M., editor and translator. The Dialogue of Salomon and Saturnus, with an Historical Introduction. The Ælfric Society, 1848, pp. 86-88. Google Books.
  • Faust Book. In Early English Prose Romances, edited by William John Thoms. Nattali and Bond, 1858. Digital text available at the Perseus Project.
  • Marlowe, Christopher. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus from the Quarto of 1604. Edited by Alexander Dyce. Project Gutenberg, 2009.
  • de Vitry, Jacques. Exempla of Jacques de Vitry. Edited by Thomas Frederick Crane, David Nutt, 1890. Google Books.
  • Gregory the Great. The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, Surnamed the Great: Pope of Rome & the First of That Name. Translated by P.W., edited by Edmund G. Gardner, Philip Lee Warner, 1911. Digital text edited by Roger Pearce, 2004,  


  • Andrew, Malcom. “Grendel in Hell.” English Studies, vol. 62, no. 5, 1981, pp. 401–410.
  • Robinson, Fred C. “The Devil’s Account of the Next World: An Anecdote from Old English Homiletic Literature.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, vol. 73, no., 1/3, 1972, pp. 363-371.

Image credit: Detail from British Library, Add MS 42130, f. 54v.