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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So long as they’ve been around so for me really only since the early to mid ‘sI’ve always loved internet profiles full of huydmans long lists of people’s tastes in everything.

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.

Or had I pushed coincidence too far and seen connections where none exist? View all 5 comments. His pursuit of idealized artistic perfection is almost fetishistic in its insistence on completeness. I have a feeling it could have ended up on the small list of things I wish I had left till later not because their content was any more shocking than countless other things I read at the time, but joros-karl something in them chimed too deeply with me and I took them wrongly as prescriptive Nicola Six in London Fields or descriptive of just about everyone Alfie the film and they thus dramatically affected the course of my life more than most people would suppose.

In doing so, it broke from Naturalism and became the ultimate example of ” decadent ” literature. Anthony,” for Des Esseintes–the novel’s protagonist–is a huysmwns of the senses, and on his path to enlightenment he encounters demons, delusions and disease.

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. And what tends to define them when they are alive is a near-complete lack of recognition. I think this began because it wasn’t until I was 19 that I got to know anyone in real life who shared a lot of my taste and whose own likings inspired me; having spent so long waiting, having or having had such things within reach became completely compelling.


Still, I’m confident they contain more tonic than virus. Huydmans ask other readers questions about Against Natureplease sign up. Perhaps he was a well, but one at whose bottom one often could not find a drop of water.

How to rebuild a carburetor? Society attacks them in all the standard ways: He builds a new home for himself with the intent of isolation, and pretty 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.

Though I was already sick of being told to stay in and be huydmans of my strange health problems He grows to scorn his fellow man: The parallels between the two books end there since Huysmans takes his character in quite a different direction to the one Stevenson chose for the finally repentant Doctor Jekyll.

Against Nature

View all 18 comments. Initially it was unexpected but really it fits very well here: The book is in short a very successful argument for the pursuit of aesthetic pleasures while at the rrebours time being a damning of those very pleasures, which in the end makes it a very powerful book, as des Esseintes is pursuing a spiritual path without completely realizing it; and as I understand it Huysmans charts these pursuits in his subsequent novels.

It was coated with a layer of bronze green on which glanced silver reflections. rfbours

He has a garden of semi-pornographically described carnivorous plants. Having children is madness. For what could [I] hope, if not new disillusionments?

We are then told that for several generations rebouds des Huysmmans family married their cousins so that Jean, the final member of the clan, is a particularly anaemic character, who, as a result of some curious atavistic phenomenon, resembles most closely his sly and vulpine looking forebear.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. They are a subculture, but one that still feeds into and supports the main culture. On a Symbolist “high,” the reclusive hero seeks “new perfumes, ampler blossoms, untried pleasures.

I know someone exactly like him. Finally, this particular edition, the Baldick translation it’s superbcontains a fine introduction and notes P. 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 moris-karl 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.


Maybe we, too, are in need of the “consoling w of ancient faith” contained in long forgotten books. Society is uncomfortable, it wants to invade that mind, to break the siege and to remake the person as a useful ant under the status quo.

See 2 questions about Against Natureā€¦. Des Esseintes is an eccentric, a decadent, a misanthrope, and an aesthete, who is also obsessed with death and decay.

Against Nature (A Rebours) by Joris-Karl Huysmans | : Books

A French example of superfluous man. 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.

Some might argue that the theme is the gross emptiness of decadence, but I don’t think the work’s scattered repetition does very much to explore it. Perhaps when I buy one, I’ll have it rebound in fine leather punctuated with elements of jewel-encrusted tortoise shell.