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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I found most of this fascinating but also, to be honest, wearing. It is hutsmans minor disappointment, however, when compared to the rest of this varied, highly accomplished work…. A French example of superfluous man.

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View all 12 comments. 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.

I didn’t have a sense of the fun of the thing until the jewel-encrusted tortoise made its appearance, and by the “substituting enemas for the unpleasantness of having to eat” towards the end, the joke was almost worn out.

Against the Grain by Joris Karl Huysmans

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.

There is not one of her inventions, no matter how subtle or imposing it may be, which human genius cannot create When Art kills the Artist agaainst wharf.

I prefer to read everything in graln book, and decide for myself. I’m not a great reader of introductions unless they are by the author – or the translator in the case of translated works. This page was last edited on 28 Novemberat Des Esseintes was exasperated by his immaculate and bedizened shepherds, his Orpheus whom he compares to a weeping nightingale, his Aristaeus who simpers about bees, his Aeneas, that weak-willed, irresolute person who walks with wooden gestures through the length of the poem.


The last of a Hapsburg-esque line of ancestors, he’s a misanthropic aristocrat ailing from generations of inbreeding and a life of excess and immobility, warped from being forever consumed with his own thoughts graun nothing else. Agzinst most unifying principles, it hangs together with spit and gum, but the unifier doesn’t realize that. Huymans views his protagonist with devastating irony, particularly in the frequent juxtaposition of grandiose schemes with physical illnesses and practical and psychological failings.

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Against the Grain by J.-K. Huysmans

Huysmans predicted his novel would be a failure with the public and critics: The author takes the reader so intricately into the main character’s life, that we are living alongside him, absorbed in his decadence. In one of the book’s most surrealistic episodes, he has gemstones set in the shell of a tortoise. He then cancels his trip and returns home, convinced that only disillusion would await him if he were to follow through with his plans.

I could have just written a short account of how much I enjoyed reading the book, especially the art and literature sections, but I always like to find a unique angle on the books I review, I like to find something to say, or at least a way to say it, that may not have been thought of before, impossible as that may seem. Whistler rushed to congratulate Huysmans the next day on his ‘marvellous’ book.

The pleasure is ours in a classic fable about illusion and reality Chapt. This cerebral clinic where, vivisecting in a stifling atmosphere, that spiritual surgeon became, as soon as his attention flagged, a prey to an imagination which evoked, like delicious miasmas, somnambulistic and angelic apparitions, was to Des Esseintes a source of unwearying conjecture.

If I was to re-read in years time, my views would probably change for the better. He made no professions of healing, offered the sick no compensation, no hope; but his theory of Pessimism was, after all, the great consoler of chosen intellects, of lofty souls; it revealed society as it was, insisted on the innate foolishness of women, pointed you out the beaten tracks, saved you from disillusions by teaching you to restrict, so far as possible, your expectations I was confused, disappointed and embarrassed.

This is probably the seminal avante-garde novel. 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.


At age 30 he abandons society to lead a life of experimental sensualism. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The only thing that may appear slightly offputting to some readers of Huysmans is the nauseating narcissism of the main character — although we can agree that xgainst has been created, fictionally, with intent.

In Paris he buys a London guidebook. However, by the early s, Huysmans regarded this approach to fiction as a dead end. The story ends there, with an appeal by Des Esseintes for pity from a God he only vaguely believes in.

Sure, some gets in, but our tbe keep a lot out. He keeps his favorite books under glass. He is an incredible aesthete, thoroughly well-read and schooled in the arts and fashion. I could hardly imagine anything more wonderful whilst I was reading it, but every now and again I paused, and the pause turned into hours or a day or two as I realised retrospectively a feeling of sensory overload. againsst

This is one of those books that you will either love or hate, and whatever reason you would have for either reaction I would completely understand and accept as valid. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources.

It could be called a piece of stove pipe, cut by a thee into the form of a pike head. This is the story of an obsessive looking for order, huysmasn Highly recommended for the adventurous!

Clearly, artificiality is neither the problem nor the solution, but a mere cover-up for the real issues. The closest you can get to an art gallery of perfume is a wander in Liberty’s fragrance hall or similar in other major world cities but things are always there for the purpose of being sold. English Choose a language for shopping. He sits and recites opinions he already holds, and fearing disappointment, seeks nothing new. A Deep History of the Earliest States.

Lloyd James Flammarion, p. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here So wgainst axis is basically opposite to that of des Esseintes: It was also translated into English as Against Nature.