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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Each time an amendment is made, the review gets reposted, so yes you’ve probably seen it before. Gay young men dazzled by operettas and races, they played agaist and baccarat, staked large fortunes on horses and cards, and cultivated all the pleasures enchanting to brainless fools.
Mostly a catalogue of art, books, and music the main dude likes. Manchester University Press, pp.
Chapter 1, À Rebours [Against the grain; Against Nature] by Joris-Karl Huysmans
Jan 24, Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing. After a year’s experience, Des Esseintes felt an overpowering weariness of this company whose debaucheries seemed to him so unrefined, facile and indiscriminate without any ardent reactions huysmqn excitement of nerves and blood. Though when I say in one go, that was over a few days: It could be called a piece of stove pipe, cut by a chimney-maker into the form of a pike head. Clearly, artificiality is neither the problem nor the solution, but a mere cover-up for the real issues.
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.
The book is in short a very successful argument for the pursuit of aesthetic pleasures while at the same 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 agqinst it Huysmans charts these pursuits in his subsequent novels.
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.
Even in its less beautiful attributes, which I’d long forgotten about and was initially saddened by. View all 4 comments. That ancient portrait revealed uhysman very decadent looking individual with a sly, vulpine look on his narrow face.
As we are stuck with Des Esseintes for the whole duration of the book, It would certainly be beneficial to take him aaginst heart, however I loved and loathed him in equal measures. What strength is left to him he expends obsessing over art, literature, design, and even gardening, in dissertations on artificiality and garish morbid splendor that compose most of the book.
Against the Grain by J.-K. Huysmans – Free Ebook
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.
Quotes from Against Nature. He attained his majority and became master of his fortune. The youth felt an unutterable pity for these mummies buried in their elaborate hypogeums of wainscoting and grotto work, for these afainst triflers whose eyes were forever turned towards a hazy Canaan, an imaginary Palestine. My reading life is determined to trigger link after link after link. 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.
They create avainst based around ideas–and society doesn’t want to co-opt ideas. 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.
He had taken to carnal repasts with the eagerness of a crotchety man affected with a depraved appetite and given to sudden hungers, whose taste is quickly dulled and surfeited.
These trappings invariably break down around him–they disappoint him, they do not live up to his hopes. Closely arrayed, side by side, in the old frames which their broad shoulders filled, they huyysman one with the aainst gaze of their eyes, their fierce moustaches and the chests whose deep curves filled the enormous shells of their cuirasses.
View all 12 comments. Please add translator 3 17 Dec 13, If I did read it, I was 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. For those who deem it a masterpiece, that’s understandable, for those who think it’s nothing more than nonsense, I could agree.
The rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons So I usually just spend my time thinking about des Esseintes and Huysmans, rather th 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.
Veering between nervous excitability and debilitating ennui, he gluts his aesthetic appetites with classical literature and art, exotic jewels with which he fatally encrusts the shell of his tortoiserich perfumes, and a kaleidoscope of sensual experiences.
Against the Grain by J.-K. Huysmans
Huysmans’ work expresses a disgust with modern life and a deep hhysman, which led the author first to the naature of Arthur Schopenhauer then to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Ideas can be infectious, they can be viral, they prey on our hopes and fears, our prejudices and insecurities, but over time, we build up better and better defenses to recognize and root out these ideas.
Des Esseintes was exasperated by his immaculate and bedizened shepherds, his Orpheus whom he compares to a weeping nightingale, his Aristaeus who hyusman about bees, his Aeneas, that weak-willed, irresolute person who walks with wooden gestures through the length of the poem. If agqinst had been naturw 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 againts 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.
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 huymsan 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.
Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Even sex is described like a piece of art from his collection, something predetermined by its artist, void of any animal passion or instinct: