[lit-ideas] Re: Geary on Incubi and Succubi

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 17:47:20 -0400

surely the source of "The devil made me do it."

...and then there's Lilith.

Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx wrote:

>In "My Memphis Memories -- & Other Animals" -- vol. 3, New Series,  Seattle, 
>WA -- Geary writes:
>>I recall I was in the seminary studying to 
>>be a priest and would pray -- sometimes in
>>Latin, sometimes not -- all day, every day 
>>for a wet dream -- the only 'sex' [sic with scare 
>>quotes, sic] we were allowed, now doncha  know. 
>R. Paul says that the passage on chess in PI (by Wittgenstein) is _not_  
>about tropes -- and that 'This is a king' is LITERAL. I wonder what trope  it 
>though, that constitutes Geary's phrase, 'wet dream'. Surely a dream  itself 
>is not wet -- or dry for that matter -- nor the dreaming. Is this  paronymy or 
>_what_? (cf. Henley, The Wet Dreamers, 'We are the wet dreamers,  although'). 
>Anyway, the mediaevals in the list may _not_ be interested to know that  
>Geary is here making reference to the well-developed theory (in Aquinas, after 
>St. Augustine, etc) of the incubus and the sucubus. More in the ps.
>>From the OED
>Llate L. incubus (Augustine) = cl. L. incubo. Reresented as a  malignant 
>demon who lay upon men and women; f. L. <NOBRre to lie upon. Cf. F. incube  
>c. in Hatz.-Darm.).]   
>A feigned evil spirit or demon (originating in personified  representations 
>of the nightmare) supposed to descend upon persons in their  sleep, and 
>especially to seek carnal intercourse [with women]. In the Middle  Ages, their 
>existence was recognized by the ecclesiastical and civil law. 
>1205 LAY. 15783  
>Heo Heo ihaten ful iwis incubii demones..monine  mon on sweuene ofte heo  
>1330 R. BRUNNE Chron. Wace (Rolls) 8088  
>ise spyrites do women schame; Incuby  demones ys cald er name, ffendes in 
>bedde..at many woman han forlayn.  
>1386 CHAUCER Wife's T. 24  
>Wommen may go saufly  vp and doun..Ther is noon oother Incubus but he And he 
>ne wol doon hem but  dishonour.  
>1387 TREVISA Higden (Rolls) I. 419  
>That fend at  <N a  at, Wommen wel ofte to begile, Incubus  hatte be , t.  
>1535 STEWART Cron. Scot. II. 221  
>Marling also wes in  tha samin dais Into Britane..Ane incobus with subtill 
>1584 R. SCOT  Discov. Witchcr.  II. ix. (1886) 26  
>They [witches] use  venerie with a divell called Incubus.  
>1624 MASSINGER Parl. Love  II. ii,  
>I'll sooner clasp an  incubus, or hug A fork-tongued adder.  
>1671 MILTON P.R.  II. 152  
>Belial, the  dissolutest spirit that fell, The sensualest, and, after 
>Asmodai, The fleshliest  incubus.  
>1801 W. TAYLOR in Monthly Mag. XII. 421  
>Angels, Incubusses,  Saints jostle in his song.  
>1865 TYLOR  Early Hist. Man. i. 7  
>The evil demons who  trouble people in their sleep, the Incubi and  Succubi.
>Med.L., masc. form (with fem. meaning) corresp. to _SUCCUBA_ 
>rd=succuba) , after _INCUBUS_ 
>w=10&single=1&sort_type=alpha&xrefed=OED&xrefword=incubus) .]   
>A demon in female form supposed to have carnal intercourse  with men in their 
>sleep. (Cf. _INCUBUS_ 
>gle=1&sort_type=alpha&xrefed=OED&xrefword=incubus) .) 
>1387 TREVISA Higden  (Rolls) I. 419  
>That fend at  <N a  at, Wommen wel ofte to begile, Incubus  hatte be , t; And 
> And men  er while, Succubus is at wight.  
>1547 BOORDE Brev. Health cxix. (1870) 78  
>Incubus doth  infeste and trouble women, and Succubus doth infest men.  
>1584 R. SCOT  Discov. Witchcr.  III. xix. (1886) 56  
>The divell plaieth  Succubus to the man and carrieth from him the seed of 
>generation, which  he delivereth as Incubus to the woman.  
>1644 Merc.  Brit. No. 23. 178,  
>I think Incubusses and  Sucubusses are Angells of light to these.  
>1647 COWLEY Mistr., Not Fair 14  
>So men (they say) by  Hells delusions led, Have ta'ne a Succu'bus to their 
>1691 R. KIRK  Secret Commw. i. (1815) 13  
>For the Inconvenience  of their Succubi, who tryst with Men, it is 
>1797 Encycl.  Brit. (ed. 3) XVIII. 52/2  
>The truth is, the  succubus is only a species of the nightmare.  
>1818 C. K. SHARPE Law's Memorialls Pref. p. xx,  
>For forty years, he  [sc. Benedict of Berne] had kept up an amatory commerce 
>with a Succubus,  called Hermeline.  
>1950 A. CLARKE Coll. Plays (1963) 315  
>Branduv is sleeping  with a succubus.  
>1958 L. DURRELL Balthazar vii. 167  
>Thirst can be  quenched like this, by inviting a succubus to one's bed.  
>1969 J. UPTON  tr. R. Diaz Sánchez's Cumboto 261  
>The dream reoccurred  many times, it was the work of a clever succubus who 
>came to my cot regularly to  conduct her oneiric concert.  
>1977 A. CARTER Passion of New Eve ii. 27,  
>I would..remember the  myth of the succubus, the devils in female form who 
>come by night to seduce the  saints.
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