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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Call this the Des Esseintes perfectionist strain in me. Then, onward to an English tavern where he sees Brit ladies with “teeth big as tombstones” and men with “pork-butcher faces. The youth felt an unutterable pity for these mummies buried in their elaborate hypogeums of wainscoting and grotto work, for these tedious triflers whose eyes were forever turned towards a hazy Canaan, an imaginary Palestine. View all 16 comments.

Menaced with scrofula and afflicted with relentless fevers, he yet succeeded in crossing the breakers of adolescence, thanks to fresh air and careful attention.

Though when I say in one go, that was over a few days: A few, halting words would be exchanged between them in the gloom and then the indifferent duc would depart to meet the first train back to Paris.

The physicians whom he consulted frightened him. If I did read it, I huyzman completely wrong in my evaluation of this as a static, effete precursor to “Dorian Gray,” a work marooned in the vanished aesthetic of the late nineteenth century. He was hhysman, too, a sled picturesquely placed on a snow-white bearskin, a library of rare books in suitably-coloured bindings and the remains of an unfortunate tortoise whose shell had been coated with gold paint.

Huysmans even gives des Esseintes an interest in chemical experiments just as Dr Jekyll had, and he is passionate about poisonous plants and all sorts of esoteric theories and practices. He attained his majority and became master of his fortune. To see what your zgainst thought of this book, please sign up. Which must be terribly dependent on skin chemistry because many reviews make it sound utterly foul, yet to me it’s lovely if perhaps dreamy and impractical.

For starters, it is an accomplished work of realism that turns realism on its head.

Against The Grain, or Against Nature

Landow created the HTML design and formatted the text, adding French accents, which the Gutenberg text omits, and both ilustrations and links to materials on agaihst site. At first the Fathers pampered the lad whose intelligence astonished them.


The whole situation is summed up in the fact that, when he thinks on the horror of being forced to return to society, he laments that he will not be able to meet any men like himself, men who share his opinions. This is a brilliant book. A dense drug trip. Michel Houellebecq, Marcel Proust.

Real huysmaj are cool. Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Exploring the suburbs of the capital, he found a place for sale at the top of Fontenay-aux-Roses, in a secluded section near the fort, far from any neighbors. He considered the crabbed expressions of nahure, insulting. He hardly knew his father, who usually resided in Paris. Nature had had her juysman The lad passed the summer vacations at the Chateau de Lourps, but his presence could not seduce his mother from her reveries. 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.

It scarcely admitted—in theory at least—any exceptions to the rule; thus it limited itself to depicting common existence, and struggled, under the pretext of being true huysmah life, to create characters who would be as close as possible to the average run of mankind. They are fucking amazing.

Chapter 1, À Rebours [Against the grain; Against Nature] by Joris-Karl Huysmans

Now I would simply say “you’re des Esseintes on a budget, aren’t you? February 4th, review to come when I return from a trip but in the meantime, the interiority of this image to meditate upon: Here, Huysmans has written the first example known to me of the novel where nothing happens.

Associating with country squires, he had taken part in their lavish suppers where, at dessert, tipsy women would unfasten their clothing and strike their heads against the tables; he had haunted the green rooms, loved actresses and singers, endured, in addition to the natural stupidity he had come to expect of women, the maddening vanity of female strolling players.

It was a masterpiece of articiality. I found most of this fascinating but also, to be honest, wearing. Perhaps not unlike that des Esseintes experiences when confronted Oxford World’s Classics edition translated by Margaret Mauldon I finally read this properly in one go And he felt that in not entirely closing the way, there was a chance that he would not be assailed by a wish to return to society, seeing that it is only the impossible, the unachievable that arouses desire.


I againnst perhaps that I ought to have stuck with the original theme that had played on my mind on finishing the book, a kind of Jesuitical meditation on the senses. Towards the end, Des E proclaims, “I am certainly on the road to recovery.

Did I really read this book forty years ago? But he must hurry to catch the London boat-train. View all 22 comments. March Learn how and when to remove this template message.

À rebours – Wikipedia

They are a subculture, but one that still feeds into and supports the main culture. It is a novel for people who like talking about novels — the plot itself is slim and of little importance.

He doesn’t get any better through the course of the book; he is as capable of dwelling on the most beautiful of conjectures in full possession of his educated faculties, as he is of condemning the smallest aspect of life with all the spite and bigotry a human could possibly muster. One doesn’t read A Reboursone lives in it, like a ghost that is compelled to haunt a place even though it would rather leave behind the place in which it was murdered. The language all this is described in is deliberately rich and unnaturalistic.

I have resolved to spend it reflecting on it. Apr 01, AC rated it it was amazing Shelves: For while Proust is gorgeous and light and understanding of almost every nuance of the human condition, Huysmans is, well. May 14, [EBook ]; Project Gutenberg statement. The husband and wife would meet on rare occasions, and he remembered those lifeless interviews when his parents sat face to face in front of a round table faintly lit by a lamp with a wide, low-hanging shade, for the duchesse could not endure light or sound without being seized with a fit of nervousness.