The infamous inspiration for the novel which slowly corrupts Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray is translated by Robert Baldick with an introduction by. : Against Nature: A Rebours (Oxford World’s Classics) ( ): Joris-Karl Huysmans, Nicholas White, Margaret Mauldon: Books. Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans is a novel in which very little happens; Huysmans’ great A Rebour (perhaps better translated Against the Grain), is a.

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For starters, it is an accomplished work of realism that turns realism on its he Did I really read this book forty years ago? That’s what society is: May 22, Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing Shelves: It was being reviewed everywhere as the guidebook of decadence. That’s Des Esseintes for you, speaking of a boy-child he had granted three months of bi-weekly brothel visits to, for no other reason but a sudden whim to conduct a viciously abhorrent sort of social experiment.

Anything else, leave a message. He grows to scorn his fellow man: They have constructed a sense of identity for themselves–what makes them them –and when they see someone else doing the same thing, it threatens their sense of identity. And I am so so glad I didn’t read this book in my teens.

A rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans

Dec 06, Steven Godin rated it liked it Shelves: View all 10 comments. Des Esseintes’ world is completely superficial, contrived. Sure, some gets in, but our defenses keep a lot out.


Just a terrible, terrible mistake. He is an incredible aesthete, thoroughly well-read and schooled in the arts and fashion.

Views Read Edit View history. View all 4 comments. In one of the book’s most surrealistic episodes, he has gemstones set in the shell of a tortoise. Thanks for telling us about the problem. See 2 questions about Against Natureā€¦. Jul 14, J.

Like most unifying principles, it hangs together with spit and gum, but the unifier doesn’t realize that. He governs a life’s philosophy with the desire to subvert, and even supersede, nature. Jean des Esseintes is the last member of a powerful and once proud noble family.

Against Nature (A Rebours)

Chapter 4 is awash with dissing the classical writers of ancient Rome: And the chapter on perfume. His early works had been Naturalist in style, being realistic depictions of the drudgery and squalor of working- and lower-middle-class life rebbours Paris. It’s almost as if his discrimination is the cause of a social illness, his individualism the cause of a quasi-syphilitic social disease, and he must return to bourgeois Paris, the Church and its conformist flock, in order to cure his hallucinations, nightmares, melancholia, and ennui.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading this, and although I found it dull through many spots, these duller joris-katl were consistently blown away by the superexceptional gems that stud the slow and plotless turtle shell of this “story. I didn’t plan specifically to finish the book today, but curiously this is one year, minus one day, after the last start date I entered on Goodreads. View all 21 comments.

Against Nature (A Rebours) by Joris-Karl Huysmans | : Books

Could I really argue for a parallel between the two books? I’m not a great reader of introductions unless they are by the author – or the translator in the case of translated works. The hipsters are right: There is no doubt whatever that this eternally self-replicating old fool has now exhausted the good-natured admiration of all true artists, and the moment has come to replace her, as far as that can be achieved, with artiface.


Images like a jewel-encrusted tortoise perishing reboyrs its own weight have a mythic quality and chapters can seem like individual exercises, tied together reblurs the Des Esseintes plot such as it islike the master narrative of the Arabian Nights or a collection of Dickensian short stories. As such, it’s a terribly useful record of cultural context, but fortunately the book’s pleasures extend beyond the academic and into sheer voluptuous descriptive prose. His aesthetics are a replacement for faith, which explains why his house is filled with religious iconography repurposed into furnishings for his museum to himself–and yet, not himself, for throughout the text, though he spends his fortune to pursue every idea which seems to him easing at the time, none of it satisfies him–indeed, it drives him mad, makes him sick, destroys him.