These questions are intended to facilitate discussion in your reading group, and may contain spoilers. The Demonologist – Reading Group Questions
Discuss your initial reaction to the first page of the novel (Tess’s “real dream”). Did your feelings about this passage change as you read the rest of the novel? If so, how, and why?
In the opening pages, David argues to his students that to read Paradise Lost
is to know that “hell is real. Not as a fiery pit, not a place above or below but in
us, a place in the mind. To know ourselves and, in turn, to endure the perpetual reminder of our solitude” (6). Do you agree with this definition of hell?
David has cultivated a career in contradictions: “an atheist biblical scholar. A demon expert who believes evil to be a manmade invention ... My justification for these apparent contradictions is that there are some things that bear meaning, culturally speaking, without actually existing. The Devil, angels. Heaven. Hell. They are part of our lives even if we never have and never will see them, touch them, prove them to be real” (7). To support his position, David quotes Milton: “The mind is its own place, and in it self / Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
Discuss how this passage foreshadows the events to come. Do you think that David’s hell exists in the tangible world? Or is a product