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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À rebours – Wikipedia

His aesthetic opposes the artificial against nature. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He put masons to work on the house he had acquired. I think this began because it wasn’t until I was 19 that I got to know anyone in real life who shared a lot of my taste and whose own likings inspired me; having spent so long waiting, having or having had such things within reach became completely compelling.

Against Nature

In fact this book is a long drawn out account of his fall from inner grace, his slow alienation from the private paradise he assembled before the present day narrative occurs, and his eventual breakdown and expulsion from his dandified Eden.

It was a pile of Gothic trappings whose sheer weight broke through the roof of the old church to lay all in a shambles on the floor. What’s the Name o 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 In him, there was no desire to migrate to vanished civilizations, to worlds lost in the darkness of time; his sturdy, powerful temperament, enamoured of the luxuriance of life, of full-blooded vigour, of moral stamina, alienated him from the artificial graces and the painted pallors of the eighteenth century, as also from the hieratic pomp, the brutal ferocity and the effeminate, ambiguous dreams of the ancient East.


Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. 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. The ideal novel for people who hate novels. I realize I read a library copy and do not have my own.

Mar 04, MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it Shelves: Instead, he tries again and again to create identity through external trappings, like a college girl who wears a beret in order to feel worldly. Still, I’m confident they contain more tonic than virus. At first the Fathers pampered the lad whose intelligence astonished them.

How to rebuild a carburetor? Then he began to seek out the young men natre his own age and set. Incomprehensible successes had permanently ruined books and paintings for him which he had previously held dear; faced with widespread public approbation, aaginst ended up discovering imperceptible flaws in works, and rejecting them….

He becomes an eccentric dandy. Now he’s tired of it.

Inspired by Dickens, he sets off for London to experience its rainy misty derelict nights but instead gets guysman on lagers ales and porters at an English restaurant in Paris, traveling to London in his imagination, returning guysman fully exhausted from his “journey.

View all 10 comments. It is a life without risk, a life where he does not have to confront anything uncomfortable or challenging, which will never hazard upsetting or drawing judgment from anyone–a pointless life of perfect safety which he romantically paints as fraught and challenging, because it allows him to imagine himself as the noble struggler against hardship–but solely on his own terms.

By protracted contemplation of the same thoughts, his mind grew sharp, his vague, undeveloped ideas took on form. Though many critics were scandalised, it appealed to a young generation of aesthetes and writers. He hardly knew his father, who usually resided in Paris.


Against The Grain, or Against Nature

Richard Ellmann describes the effect of the book in his biography of Oscar Wilde:. This section needs additional citations for verification. Toward a New Decadence? The Floressas Des Esseintes, to judge by the various portraits preserved in t Description: You weren’t limited to just creating a novel; if you were talented, you could create a whole new kind of novel.

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

There was only one living scion of this family which had once been so numerous that it had occupied all the territories of the Ile-de-France and La Brie. View all 23 comments. No experience is too perverse for him and he seeks out every extreme. That’s what society is: Gradually, we learn more and more about des Esseintes and the depraved life he seems intent on pursuing. March Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Did I really read this book forty years ago? I’m not a very good perfumista though because I’m too much huysmzn a serial naature The ‘other’ London will only offer disillusionment.

Yet, ironically, he also complains about how there is ‘nothing genuine’ left in the world, how it is all huysmwn for which he decries it despite the fact that he spends the rest of his time trying to live in another artificial world of his own making.

We conflate Coca Cola with comfort and familiarity, the Nike swoosh with athletic ability, Mickey Mouse with childhood; our idea of how relationships work is based on yoghurt commercials.

My own interest in Decadence begins with the fantastic proto-surrealist work of Huyxman painters like Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau, both of whose paintings are of special importance to Des Essientes.