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Ranking Literary Devils by Their Relative Fearsomeness

The devil — or Satan, or Lucifer, or Beezlebub — has been skulking about literature almost as long as literature has existed, manifesting in many forms and with many personalities. In Victor LaValle’s newest novel The Devil in Silver, published this week, the devil stalks New Hyde hospital, slowly killing off its patients before sneaking back behind a silver door on the ward. In honor of LaValle’s book, we decided to rank some of the most prominent literary devils from least to most fearsome — because every devil is its own bag of mischief. Click through to read our rankings, and let us know if you agree — or which literary devils you’d add — in the comments.

Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

In the funniest of C.S. Lewis’ works, Screwtape is an experienced devil sending letters of encouragement and advice to his nephew, the tormenter-in-training Wormwood. “Do remember you are there to fuddle him,” he intones. Also: “Flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical.” You will giggle much too often to be the least bit frightened.