Review of ‘Satan’s Diary’ by Leonid Andreyev

What if Satan, bored and lonely, took over the body of an American multi-millionaire and went to Europe, where he fell in love with the Madonna-like daughter of a shady new friend? And he kept a diary about it? That’s what this book is, and I really didn’t know what to make of it.

Satan’s Diary was the last work of Russian author Leonid Andreyev, who (according to his friend Herman Bernstein in the introduction) died of a broken heart. I always feel that I’m not clever enough to understand Russian literature. I haven’t yet gelled with any that I’ve read, except for Zamyatin’s novel We.

At first, I understood what Satan’s Diary was about and where it was going. However, there was a lot of dialogue and introspection further on and I just wasn’t sure what it all meant. It was interesting to read a book written from Satan’s viewpoint and no doubt it was very daring for the era. I think it would be an essential read for anyone looking for literature influenced by the Russian Revolution.

This edition was published by Boni & Liverlight, 1920. Part of my Project Gutenberg random reads project.

Andreyev and his wife Anna, seated indoors.

Public domain photo of Andreyev and his wife Anna, taken from Wikipedia.

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