While I still have access to a sufficient number of neurons, I
would like to use your site to correct a misapprehension that I see still
turning up here and there, including on Amazon's Exorcist site, namely that I consider The Ninth Configuration
to be the sequel to The Exorcist. Did I ever say that? Who knows: I'm almost 84 years old. But I think
this misapprehension might well be traceable to Mark Kermode, who long ago named The Exorcist,
The Ninth Configuration and Legion "The Trilogy of Faith." Or
not. But today the three of my works I would link together are The
Exorcist, Legion and Dimiter. The Exorcist argues for God's
existence in a very general way while Legion approaches itin
a very specific, evidential way that to a great extent involves intelligent
design. In Legion there is a dream sequence in which the Humphrey
Bogart of Casablanca criticizes Lt. Kinderman for leaving Christ out
of the equation, to which Kinderman replies that he intends to include him.
Dimiter is the fulfillment of Kinderman's promise. To quote from A
Man For All Seasons, "I trust I make myself obscure."
happen to be unaware about the basic premise of William Peter Blatty's work
(The Ninth Configuration in particular), and assuming you have not
read the novels, I have found the featurette available on The Ninth
Configuration DVD to be a remarkable introduction:
Listed below are some quotes
and images from said featurette.
As a side note, you will
notice three distinct images below, each representing Blatty's 'trilogy of
faith': The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration and Legion.
In a perfect world, The Ninth Configuration would have been the
first sequel to The Exorcist, and Legion the third. Number
#4 of the
Correspondences & Themes page gives more insight into situation of
The Ninth Configuration being the first sequel, and the
"Original Cut" Saga page describes the situation with Legion.
Everything had been set up
perfectly for The Ninth Configuration to be the first 'true' sequel
to The Exorcist. The un-credited astronaut at Chris MacNeil's house
party would have bridged superbly into the storyline of the astronaut,
Captain Billy Cutshaw, from The Ninth Configuration. In The
Exorcist, Regan stares ominously at him and firmly states: "You're gonna
die up there." In The Ninth Configuration, Cutshaw's entire
debacle orbits his fear of flying to the moon.Alas, Blatty was
denied the funds to film such a sequel. In turn, we received Exorcist II: The Heretic. To
"I offered to write an
Exorcist sequel — not that story [Exorcist II: The Heretic] — if
they would put up just a little bit of money to make the film I wanted to
make based on another novel I wrote, The Ninth Configuration. But
they wouldn't do it."
box-set would exist, and one only:
The Exorcist » The
Thanks to Hollywood, we are
currently left with the following chronology:
The Exorcist »
Exorcist II: The Heretic
» The Exorcist III » Exorcist: The Beginning » Dominion:
Prequel To The Exorcist
With the underlying
possibility, of course, to remake the original Exorcist film.
Exorcist, and I'm speaking of the novel, broaches the problem of
evil; it presents it. But, in fact, it doesn’t give you a solution -
at all. It doesn't attempt to. It does suggest that something
very good has also happened in this universe, and that may be worth
thinking about, but that's all."
Ninth Configuration dealt directly with God's existence,
and with the problem of evil. And it did that by opposing to it the
'mystery of goodness.'"
novel, Legion*, goes beyond both: namely, in some way, we
have chosen the suffering."
"In The Ninth Configuration,
which forms the central part of Blatty's 'trilogy of faith,' the
miracle which the author addresses is less spectacular, but,
ultimately, more involving: the recognition that one, single selfless
act may demonstrate the persistence of divinity because, as Kane
points out to his patient, 'If you think God's dead because of all the
evil in the world, then how do you account for all the good?' This
question is the key to all of Blatty’s work."
Kinderman explains to Atkins his thoughts and musings of the whole case
and how it relates to his problem of the concept of evil. Kinderman ends
by concluding that he believes the Big Bang was Lucifer falling from
heaven, and that the entire Universe, including humanity, are the broken
parts of Lucifer, and that evolution is the process of Lucifer putting
himself together back into an angel.
novel, the coda was needed to put a button on what the novel was all about
-- Kinderman's rescue of God's goodness via his theory of "The Angel,"
which hypothesized that the fall of man was premundane; that before the
Big Bang, mankind was a single angelic being who fell from grace and was
given his transformation into the material universe as a means of
salvation wherein his legion of fragmented personalities would spiritually
evolve ("Can there be a moral act without at least the possibility of
pain?") back into the original single angelic being, back into himself, a
process foreshadowed on the opening page of The Exorcist ("that
matter was Lucifer upward groping back to his God").
explanation by Blatty can be read in this excerpt from a 1999 interview:
always seemed to me that The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration,
and Legion formed a sort of "unofficial" trilogy -- with The
Ninth Configuration serving as a thematic bridge between the more overt
horrors in The Exorcist and the intensely introverted struggles of
Kinderman in Legion. Do you view the three novels as a trilogy? If
so, why? And if not, why?
form -- at least in my mind -- a trilogy. Taken together, they are all
about the eternal questions that nag at Woody Allen: why are we here? what
are we supposed to be doing? why do we die? is there a God? The
Exorcist approached this last question, which is the heart of all the
others, by seeking to confirm the existence of "demons" and the power of
religious faith to deal with them. The Ninth Configuration
approached the problem via what I call "the mystery of goodness": if we
are reducible to matter without spirit, to soulless atomic structures,
then we ought to be always rushing blindly and irresistibly to serve our
own selfish ends. Yet how is it that there is love in this world -- love
as a God might love -- and that a man will give his life for another. The
astronaut Cutshaw's search for irrefutable proof of such pure
self-sacrifice forms the underlying plot. But then in Legion, Ivan
Karamazov's greatest barrier to religious faith -- the suffering of the
innocent: the "problem of evil" -- is met head-on by Lt. Kinderman.