The Devil's Atlas: An Explorer's Guide to Heavens, Hells and Afterworlds (Hardcover)
Throughout history, various cultures and religions have tried to explain where we go after we die–maybe Heaven, maybe Hell, possibly Limbo, or perhaps nowhere. There are so many options (not that you really get to choose), so it's lucky we have Edward Brooke-Hitching to guide us through many of them and give us a taste of what may or may not be waiting for us once we shed our mortal coil. We'll visit a selection of Underworlds and Hells, Midworlds, and Heavens spanning those from Ancient Greece and Egypt to Mesoamerica, from Islam to Buddhism to Christianity. We'll encounter hellfire and holy tortures (ick!), and feasting and singing (hurrah!). This book is also filled with artwork depicting how each of these places have been imagined over time. A wonderful tour!— Amanda
From the author of the critically acclaimed bestsellers The Phantom Atlas, The Sky Atlas, and The Madman's Library comes a unique and beautifully illustrated guide to the heavens, hells, and lands of the dead as imagined throughout history by cultures and religions around the world. Packed with colorful maps, paintings, and captivating stories, The Devil's Atlas is a compelling tour of the geography, history, and supernatural populations of the afterworlds of cultures around the globe. Whether it's the thirteen heavens of the Aztecs, the Chinese Taoist netherworld of "hungry ghosts," Islamic depictions of Paradise, or the mysteries of the Viking mirror world, each is conjured through astonishing images and a highly readable trove of surprising facts and narratives, stories of places you'd hope to go, and those you definitely would not. A traveler's guide to worlds unseen, here is a fascinating visual chronicle of our hopes, fears, and fantasies of what lies beyond.
DISCOVER THE BEYOND: From the depths of underworlds to the heights of heavens and everywhere else a life after death may be spent, this atlas explores the geography, history, and supernatural populations of the afterworlds of global mythologies.
A GLOBAL SURVEY: From the demon parliament of the ancient Maya, to the eternal globe-spanning quest to find the Earthly Paradise, to the "Hell of the Flaming Rooster" of Japanese Buddhist mythology (in which sinners are tormented by an enormous fire-breathing cockerel), The Devil's Atlas gathers together a wonderful variety of beliefs and representations of life after death.
UNUSUAL AND UNSEEN: These afterworlds are illustrated with an unprecedented collection of images. They range from the marvelous "infernal cartography" of the European Renaissance artists attempting to map the structured Hell described by Dante and the decorative Islamic depictions of Paradise to the various efforts to map the Garden of Eden and the spiritual vision paintings of nineteenth-century mediums.
EXPERT AUTHOR: Edward Brooke-Hitching is a master of taking visually–driven deep dives into unusual historical subjects, such as the maps of imaginary geography in The Phantom Atlas, ancient pathways through the stars in The Sky Atlas, and the literary oddities lining the metaphorical shelves of The Madman's Library.
- Obscure history and mythology enthusiasts
- Anyone with an interest in the occult
- Spiritual curiosity seekers
- Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
'Stunning and utterly fascinating'
- Dan Schreiber - No Such Thing As A Fish
'A sumptuous collection of artworks, from all over the world, and through the ages, depicting visions of heaven and hell.'
- Booktime Magazine
‘The Devil’s Atlas entertainingly gathers the hells and underworlds of numerous ages and schools of belief, together with limbos and purgatories, and - at last - the heavens, paradises and utopias. Written in sparkling scholarship studded with glittering trivia, abundant education and monstrous images.’
- Strong Words
‘In this world of mental exploration, Edward Brooke-Hitching is a delightful and indispensable guide…For all their horrors, Brooke-Hitching’s hells are ultimately comforting because their solid boundaries keep the dead away from us.’
- Diane Burkiss, Literary Review