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   Devil's Own Work, The, by Alan Judd  
  Novel, first publication in July 1994 , latest edition in July 1995
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       Additional Information  
      This modern version of the Faust legend has an old man of letters pass down to a young writer an ancient manuscript which bestows the gift of easy literary style and fluency -- and consequently head-turning success -- while blocking entirely any genuine creative power. To underline the devilishness of the bargain, the young author is seen to gradually throw away normal human decency as he gives in to overwhelming self-indulgence, and comes under the sensual sway of the old man's seductive mistress. On one level then, pure Faust. On another, Alan Judd's book, winner of the 1991 Guardian Fiction Prize, is a sophisticated self-referential commentary on the cliquish post-modern literary scene. This stylish and substantial novel is a clever attack on those who elevate insubstantial style.

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