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Empathy for the Devil: The Origins of Mick Jagger’s Devil in John Milton’s London

  • Evan LaBuzetta
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)

Abstract

The devil embodied by Mick Jagger in the Rolling Stones’s 1968 “Sympathy for the Devil” is a radical departure from the entirely pejorative devil of previous centuries in England. The context of the English Civil Wars and John Milton’s poetry transformed Satan into a figure with a recognizable psychology. A new readership, the Romantics, then re-evaluated, responded to, and empathized with Milton’s Satan. This chapter attempts to identify the specific path that took Satan from being the ultimate metaphysical threat to a rock icon. Drawing on original readings of the seventeenth-century pamphlet record as well as critical responses to Milton, Jagger, and the Romantics, it argues that the devil of “Sympathy for the Devil” is as much a product of the 1660s as the 1960s.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evan LaBuzetta
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarSan DiegoUSA

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