Against the Grain by Joris-Karl Huysmans. The Ultimate Example of “Decadent” Literature Translated by John Howard. Against Nature or Against the Grain. À rebours (translated into English as Against Nature or Against the Grain) () is a novel by the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans. Its narrative concentrates. The Project Gutenberg EBook of Against The Grain, by Joris-Karl Huysmans This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no.

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The extra weight on the creature’s back causes its death. This page was last edited on 28 Novemberat Jun 01, Evan rated it it was amazing Shelves: I prefer to read everything in a book, graon decide for myself.

Beware this is an expurgated version. 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. He has a garden of semi-pornographically described carnivorous plants. In doing so, it broke from Naturalism and became the ultimate example of ” decadent ” literature.

His pursuit of idealized artistic perfection is almost fetishistic in its insistence on completeness. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. On a Symbolist “high,” the reclusive hero seeks “new perfumes, ampler blossoms, untried pleasures. Huysmans is at his strongest in passages of sensual pleasure.

The book is worth reading for those pages alone! Could I really argue for a parallel between the two books? Though when I say in one go, that was over a few days: What strength is left to him he expends obsessing over art, literature, design, and even gardening, in dissertations on agaisnt and garish morbid splendor that compose most of the book. In one of the book’s most surrealistic episodes, he has gemstones set in the shell of a tortoise.

But he also shows unsurprisingly that it’s a damn sight more enjoyable for those who are natural misanthropes and recluses. If the hero of this novel had a more anglo-friendly name, it would be the byword for hyper-neurotic aesthete dandies, as Sherlock Holmes is in the world of detective. I could hardly imagine anything more wonderful whilst I was reading it, but every now and again I paused, and the pause turned ggain hours or a day or two as I realised retrospectively a feeling of sensory overload.


The last in a depleted line of nobles, Des Esseintes is wealthy and effete, and he grows impotent from dissolution. Now, where did I leave those liquor truffles!

Motte, Dean De La He quietly returns home, “having seen what he wanted to experience” — and feeling the fatigue of a long journey. They are rampant consumers, early-adopters who are constantly looking for new ways to spend their money because as soon as other people start liking what they like, they have to dump it all and buy new stuff.

Against Nature

Now, think of how else that space could have been used: When I finished, I wanted to faceplant into straight bleach with my eyes open. Customers who bought this item also bought. February 4th, review to come when I return from a trip but in the meantime, the interiority of this image thr meditate upon: I guess I just came up in a different literary milieu.

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 jorsi-karl, 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.

The protagonist of the book reminds me of those saints who debauched in their youth and then rejected their former lives to live in a kind of rarefied and refined world of ideas and artifice. University of Delaware Press, pp. Two, in particular, occupy jorie-karl special place in his affections: And what tends to define them when they are alive is a near-complete lack of recognition.

The opening scene describes the portraits that still hang at the family ancestral seat, the Chateau de Lourps; the ancestors graun all solid, well-built specimens, portrayed at the peak of their health and grai. 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. I found it like the richest, most gorgeous cake imaginable. You get the sense that he’s aware of it somewhere in the back of his mind, yet consistently tries to ignore it, and it’s heartbreaking when he’s finally forced to recognize his own humanity.


We are then told that for several generations the des Esseintes 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.

Against the Grain (A Rebours), J.-K. Huysmans ()

Difficult to do this one justice. The book is not unlike graim laundry list: His early works had been Naturalist in style, being realistic depictions of the drudgery and squalor of working- and lower-middle-class life in Paris.

Eventually, his late nights and idiosyncratic diet take their toll on his health, requiring him to return to Paris or to forfeit his life.

Real iconoclasts are cool.

Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans

However, DNFing gives me such deep lingering doubts and guilt that I end up putting the book jrois-karl on my to-reads and starting all over again. I have resolved to spend it reflecting on it. However, when they met in July, Zola told Huysmans that the book had been a “terrible blow to Naturalism” and accused him of “leading the school astray” and “burning [his] boats with such a book”, claiming that “no type of literature was possible in this genre, exhausted by a single volume”.

Its hero, the thirty-year-old duke Jean des Esseintes, is sickly, neurotic, asocial, and misogynistic. What is it about these Decadent authors — Baudelaire, Huysmans, Barbey himself — that despite their obvious dislike of religion, they all ended up going back to the Catholic faith?