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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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. On a Symbolist “high,” the reclusive hero seeks “new perfumes, ampler blossoms, untried pleasures. Anything that’s popular with anyone else is out — Goya gets taken down from his walls for being not obscure enough. He reso It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. McGuinnessplus J.

Return to Book Page. He brings des Esseintes back little by little from the almost psychotic state he had allowed him to sink into, but not without making him suffer horrible symptoms quite like the ones which Dr Jekyll suffers when he is experiencing his transformations.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. He is not content on just having a nice copy of a novel, but having it bound in a very particular and very expensive manner that complements his understanding of its philosophical aesthetic. Yet, ironically, he also complains about how there is ‘nothing genuine’ left in the world, how it is all artificial for which he decries it despite the fact that he spends the rest of his time trying to live in another artificial world of his own making.

On the day when he too had been afflicted with this longing, this craving which in fact is poetry itself, to fly far away from contemporary society he was studying, he had fled to an idyllic region where the sap boiled in the sunshine; he had dreamed of fantastic heavenly copulations, of long earthly ecstasies, of fertiziling showers of pollen falling from the palpitating genitals of flowers; he had arrived at a gigantic pantheism, and with the Garden of Eden in which he placed his Adam and Eve he had created, perhaps unconsciously, a prodigious Hindu poem, singing the glories of the flesh, extolling, in a style whose broad patches of crude colour had something of the weird brilliance of Indian paintings, living animate matter, which by its own frenzied procreation revealed to man and woman the forbidden fruit of love, its suffocating spasms, its instinctive caresses, its natural postures.


Clearly, artificiality is neither the problem nor the solution, but a mere cover-up for the real issues. In fact this book is a long drawn out account of his fall from inner grace, his slow alienation from the private paradise he assembled before the present day narrative occurs, and his eventual breakdown and expulsion from his dandified Eden. Des Esseintes is an eccentric, a decadent, a misanthrope, and an aesthete, who is also obsessed with death and decay.

I have learned an enormous amount from reading it. Thanks for telling us about the problem. It is as if Huysmans had set out to investigate every possible form of orgy our senses can be exposed to, and had created des Esseintes as an alter ego with the aim of living those experiences vicariously through him in a kind of Jekyll and Hyde parallel. Huysmans is at his strongest in passages of sensual pleasure.

Des Esseintes is a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where he indulges his taste for luxury and excess.

A rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans – Free Ebook

Either this novel is to your taste or it is not. Articles with short description Articles needing additional references from March All articles needing additional references Articles with LibriVox links Wikipedia articles with BNF identifiers. He resolves to withdraw to a specially designed house in the country where he will hyusmans a life of contemplation, as far removed from reality as he can arrange.

He dines at an English restaurant in Paris while waiting for his train and is delighted by the resemblance of the people to his notions jkris-karl from literature. Yet, even then, even in complete isolation, it is still not enough to let him discover himself. When I finished, I wanted to faceplant into straight bleach with my eyes open.

Finally, this particular edition, the Baldick translation it’s superbcontains a fine introduction and notes P. His style is remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, wide-ranging vocabulary, wealth of detailed and sensuous description, and biting, satirical wit. He pa Difficult to do this one justice. Once the book is finally closed, one deals with the hangover caused by existentialist self-loathing for every luxury one joris-iarl ever allowed oneself.


It’s almost as if his discrimination is the cause of a social illness, his individualism the cause of a quasi-syphilitic social disease, and he must return to bourgeois Paris, the Church and its conformist flock, in order to cure his hallucinations, nightmares, melancholia, and ennui.

Against Nature (A Rebours)

As we are stuck with Des Esseintes for the whole duration of the book, It would certainly be beneficial to take him to heart, however I loved and loathed him in equal measures. Closely arrayed, side by side, in the old frames which their broad shoulders filled, they startled one with the fixed gaze of their eyes, their fierce moustaches and the chests whose deep curves filled the enormous shells of their cuirasses.

Another chapter goes on, and on, and on about how Des Esseintes is going to decorate his new home, going methodically through the entire color spectrum in order to find the perfect one for his walls.

Read it Forward Read it first. Sure, some gets in, but our defenses keep a lot out. Trivia About Against Nature. Since this book haunts me, and now that I’m recognizing it huymans an unsung precursor to the modern novel, I’ve elevated it to my favorites shelf.

Now, where did I leave those liquor truffles!

Des Esseintes moves on to date a ventriloquist, whom he makes lie out of sight and huyskans odd, symbolist dialogues between statues of a chimera and a sphinx that he bought for the occasion. Chapter 4 is awash with dissing the classical writers of ancient Rome: Joris-Karl Huysmans, who no doubt has a great pedigree for writing, does take the reader to far off places in the mind, there are episodes which are so arrestingly parabolic that they stand out when looking back at the text.