The infamous inspiration for the novel which slowly corrupts Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray is translated by Robert Baldick with an introduction by. : Against Nature: A Rebours (Oxford World’s Classics) ( ): Joris-Karl Huysmans, Nicholas White, Margaret Mauldon: Books. Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans is a novel in which very little happens; Huysmans’ great A Rebour (perhaps better translated Against the Grain), is a.

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Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans

The long lists of his preferences and dislikes that fill the book are, for the most part, empty opinions. Just because he’s describing the fantastically decorated and furnished apartment of an extremely wealthy aesthete concerned with pleasing no one but himself is irrelevant to this particular aspect of the “novel.

Referring to society early on as “frightful clodhoppers”, this would become the one and only time I laughed, because even though joris-kkarl overall mood is charming and elegant, there is also a lingering sadness for the solitude Des Esseintes chooses. Either this novel is to your taste or it is not.

Against Nature

It will be something nobody has ever done before, and I shall have said what I want to say But of course, the real iconoclast doesn’t identify themselves with certain bands or aesthetics, with clothes or objects. The language all this is described in is deliberately rich and unnaturalistic. Wikiquote has quotations related to: My own interest in Decadence begins with the fantastic proto-surrealist work of Symbolist painters like Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau, both of whose paintings are of special importance to Des Essientes.

Read this because someone included Huysmans on a list of frustrated idealists that included Bernhard. Apr 01, AC rated it it was amazing Shelves: He becomes an eccentric dandy.

The closest you can get to an art gallery of perfume is a wander in Liberty’s fragrance hall or similar in other major world cities but things are always there for the purpose of being sold. But he must hurry to catch the London boat-train. It was being reviewed everywhere as the guidebook of decadence.


There is one telling and disturbing episode in the book in which the aesthete literally tries to improve on nature, a living thing, specifically a large turtle, by encrusting its shell will precious jewels. To ask other readers questions about Against Natureplease sign up.

The world will never know. Unsurprisingly, Des Essientes expends much enthusiasm on a few writers whose incidental prose exceeds their overall literary vision, and this may be the case here.

Huysmans’s former mentor, Zola, was less impressed and gave the book a lukewarm reception. I remember on first seeing his flat struggling to describe how amazed I juysmans and that it was like something I’d always tried to imagine, actually brought to life I was confused, disappointed and embarrassed.

I don’t see anything inherently unhealthy about the way he lives or with the tenets of aestheticism or decadence in general. From a literary point of view, you could assemble from the details of his library a reading list more erudite and filled with “the consoling beacons of ancient faith” than anything compiled by den Grossenlistengenerator Steven Moore view spoiler [ it’s telling that it could be said, even then, as now, that the compilers of such lists like the work of one of Des E’s idols, Ernest Hello have often “affected inordinate pretensions of profundity.

He believes he can create a world better than nature; indeed, “against nature” as the title suggests. What’s the Name o Huysmans decided to keep certain features of the Naturalist style, such as its use of minutely documented realistic detail, but apply them instead to a portrait of an exceptional individual: They have an internal motivation, a philosophy which tells them what is worthwhile and what is not, and why.

Please add translator 3 17 Dec 13, Novel, French, around late XIX, about a narcisist, egocentrical protagonist who is rich.

View all 18 comments. He said to the Morning News: He has lived an extremely decadent life in Paris, which has left him disgusted with human society. It is a life without risk, a life where he does not have to confront anything uncomfortable or challenging, which will never hazard upsetting or drawing judgment from anyone–a pointless life of perfect safety which he romantically paints as fraught and challenging, because it allows him to imagine himself as the noble struggler against hardship–but solely on his own terms.


Published May 1st by Penguin first published In hindsight, it is easy to see that Huysmans is on the road back to Rome.

While he slowly drifted away from the Naturalists, Huysmans won new friends among the Symbolist and Catholic writers whose work he had praised in his novel. Now, think of how else that space could have been used: Occasionally a few general over-the-top swipes at humanity in this one, but mostly it’s an appreciation of the artistic excrescences of human existence. Looking for More Great Reads?

I shall have contributed, to the best of my ability, to the making of a scoundrel, one enemy the more for the hideous society which is bleeding us white. The artistic temperament has never been more dramatically expressed: Oct 31, Sinem A. Des Esseintes is destined to climb as high as he had previously descended and to explore the mystical side of his nature, hand in hand with his author.

Huysmans initially tried to placate him by claiming the book was still in the Naturalist style and that Des Esseintes’s opinions and tastes were not his own. View all 22 comments. There is no doubt whatever that this eternally self-replicating old fool has now exhausted the good-natured admiration of all true artists, and the moment has come to replace her, as far as that can be achieved, with artiface.

It’s almost as if his subjectivism has become a form of solipsism. Return to Book Page. The Legend of the Decadents.

This makes two amendments in alone. He builds a new home for himself with the intent of isolation, and rebourrs much exists within his own material possessions, compl Well, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it, nor have I encountered a character as oddly loveable and annoying as Des Esseintes.