From the Memoirs of Satan by Wilhelm Hauff
Classic Horror Stories
Wilhelm Hauff, the author of this book, ranks honourably among the members of the Romantic School in Germany. As the work of a man of only twenty-two years, just out of the university, the book is a credit to its author. It must be admitted, however, that it was not altogether original with him. The idea was taken from E. Th. A. Hoffmann,—Devil-Hoffmann, as he was called by his contemporaries,—who in his short-story “Der Teufel in Berlin” also has the devil travel incognito in Germany; and the title was borrowed from Jean Paul Richter, who also claimed to edit Selections from the Devil’s Papers (Auswahl aus des Teufels Papieren, 1789). There were others, too, who claimed to have been honoured by his Satanic Majesty to edit his “journal.” J. R. Beard, a Unitarian minister, published in 1872 an Autobiography of Satan. Another autobiography of Satan is said to have been found among the posthumous works of Leonid Andréev, author of that original diabolical work Anathema, a tragedy (Engl. tr. 1910). This book has just appeared in English under the title Satan’s Diary. Frederic Soulie’s Les Mémoires du Diable (1837/8) consist of memoirs not of the devil himself, but of other people, which the Count de Luizzi, the human partner to the diabolical pact, is very anxious to know. Hauff’s book consists of a series of papers, which are but loosely connected. In certain passages we hear nothing of the autobiographer. The Suavian writer apparently could digest the Diabolical only in homeopathic doses. His Satan, moreover, is a very youthful and quite harmless devil. He is nothing but a personified echo of the author’s student-days. The book by Hauff is perhaps the most popular personification of the devil in German literature.