ABSTRACT

Within literary criticism on the Fantastic, and in particular within studies on teratology, the dimension of space has received very limited scholarly attention. This chapter seeks to fill in this gap by analyzing the literary motif of the ‘devil architect’. This motif merges architecture with the aesthetic and moral category of the diabolic. My analysis comprises corpus from different cultural traditions and investigates spaces whose monstrosity is related to its builder and not to the creature inhabiting it (such as the ghost).

The first section presents a theoretical overview showing how the dimension of space has largely been reduced to serving as a neutral setting of the fantastic and how various biographies of the Devil pay little attention to the category of built space. The analysis is then structured into two focus areas. The first of these is of a historical-anthropological nature and explores the origins of the Devil architect in medieval folklore, highlighting the parallels in European legends. The second section offers an analysis of different variations of this motif in literatures of the fantastic from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, drawing on texts by American horror writers H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Argentinean Jorge Luis Borges, and Peruvian Fernando Iwasaki.