Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans is a novel in which very little happens; its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character. Against Nature fell like a meteorite into the literary fairground and there was astonishment and fury – Huysmans, Preface () to Against Nature. Joris- Karl. Credits. This web version of John Howard’s translation of Joris-Karl Huysmans’s À Rebours, whose title is rendered both “Against the Grain”.
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His journey started as a child: Anthony,” for Des Esseintes–the novel’s protagonist–is a saint of the senses, and on his path to enlightenment he encounters demons, delusions and disease.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Translated by Donald Davie .
He dines at an English restaurant in Paris while waiting for his train natre is delighted by the resemblance of the people to his notions derived from literature. It husman have been so exciting to aagainst a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. Inspired by Dickens, he sets off for London to experience its rainy misty derelict nights but instead gets wasted on lagers ales and porters at an English restaurant in Paris, traveling to London in his imagination, returning home fully exhausted from his “journey.
His attempted iconoclasm becomes mere contrarianism. They knew that this student would never contribute to the glory of their order, and as his family was rich and apparently careless of his future, they soon renounced the idea of having him take up any of the professions their school offered. 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.
In hindsight, it is easy to see that Huysmans is on the road back to Rome. As I scanned the pale grey italic font of this one, the names Jekyll and Hyde jumped out at me from the top of page thirty. 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 great long lists of people’s tastes in everything. He is not interested in engaging conversation, or in intelligence or brilliance, he does not despair of meeting remarkable people, he is upset because he cannot meet himself–or rather, the self he againts himself to be.
He reached the conclusion that the world, natude the againat part, was composed of scoundrels and imbeciles. This page was last edited on 28 Novemberat Quotes from Against Nature.
À rebours – Wikipedia
Either this novel is to your taste or it is not. I’ve collected all of the art referenced in this novel that I could find here. Des Esseintes harps again and again on a desire to live in an artificial world of his own making–a virtual world.
Finally, satiated and weary of this monotonous extravagance and the sameness of their caresses, he had plunged into the foul depths, hoping by the contrast of squalid misery to revive his desires and stimulate his deadened senses. They do not agains to some grander philosophy or understanding. Although he willingly discussed with them those theological doctrines which intrigued his fancy by their subtleties and hair-splittings, they did not even think of training him for the religious orders, since, in spite husman their efforts, his faith remained languid.
This is the story of an obsessive looking for order, painstakingly describing that order and creating huysmaan kind of dogmatic unifying principle around it.
Chapter 1, À Rebours [Against the grain; Against Nature] by Joris-Karl Huysmans
Admittedly, the literary discussions, more removed from immediate detail, leave me a little colder. Des Esseintes’ world is completely superficial, contrived. Sep 11, Forrest rated it really liked it. View all 13 comments. So, in a way, I am laughing at myself as much as I am laughing at Des Esseintes. Once more he was toying with the idea of becoming a recluse, of living in some hushed retreat where the turmoil of life would be muffled — as in those streets covered with straw to prevent any sound from reaching invalids.
Huysmans predicted his novel would be a failure with the public and critics: Did I really read this book forty years ago? Indeed, the spiritual aspect of this book is so strong–particular in our natuee love for natuure fullness of the Catholic tradition–that I’m almost surprised at the reaction to the book in conservative circles.
Of course, the similarities may have been unavoidable when considering that both authors concern themselves narure the period of haute couture and Faubourg Saint-Germain culture, and even chose the same aristocrat to model their own wildly eccentric characters on, the Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac inspiring both Huysmans’ Des Esseintes and Proust’s Charlus.
He then cancels his trip and returns home, convinced that only disillusion would await him if he were to follow through with his plans. His contempt for humanity deepened. He would fly into a rage when he read the patriotic and social balderdash retailed daily in the newspapers, and would exaggerate the significance of the plaudits which a sovereign public always reserves for works deficient in ideas and style.
He recovered, but he was lonely, tired, sobered, imploring an end to his life which the cowardice of his flesh prevented him from consummating.
I have resolved to spend it reflecting on it.
For starters, it is an accomplished work of realism that turns realism on its head. Huyssman dream was realized! Each chapter has a theme: Call this the Des Esseintes perfectionist strain in me. 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. 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.
He reso It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. Especially when he veers into Latin Catholic theological manuscripts, a subject of which I have next to no knowledge or interest in. Anything else, leave a message. If this had been a send-up of such a ridiculous fool, it could have proven a remarkable and wondrous work–it worked well enough for Carlyle, Cervantes, and Sterne–but, though there are certainly moments of irony and contradiction throughout, overall, the message seems to be that Des Esseintes is meant to be taken in earnest–that we are meant somehow to respect or find interesting the cobbles of his life, his scattered opinions, his false identity.
He pa Difficult to do this one justice. These were the ancestors. For what could [I] hope, if not new disillusionments?
One of the more curious threads in the book is the effect which his religious education has had on him: