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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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I mean, how strong must that impulse be to reject all these things that people tell us we are supposed to be? University of Delaware Press, pp. Once more he natkre toying with the idea of becoming a recluse, of living in some hushed retreat where the turmoil of life would be muffled — as in those streets covered with straw to prevent any sound from reaching invalids.

On that day my object will be achieved: I’m thinking about that Russian protagonist who wouldn’t get up out bed, the name will come back to me at some point, probably in the middle of the night. Huysmans is at his strongest in passages of sensual pleasure. He grew stronger, overcame the languors of chlorosis and reached his full development.

Against the Grain by J.-K. Huysmans – Free Ebook

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. Still, I’m confident they contain more tonic than virus. Alain de Botton writes that the reality of travel seldom matches our dreams. Stress probably isn’t very good for the complex set of genetic diseases he has got from generations of inbreeding.

Published May 1st by Penguin first published This is a brilliant book. View all 13 comments. Aaginst style is remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, wide-ranging vocabulary, wealth of detailed and sensuous description, and biting, satirical wit. Agxinst if to conclude the work of long years, the Des Esseintes had intermarried for two centuries, using up, in such consanguineous unions, such strength as remained.


Artifice, besides, seemed to Des Esseintes the final distinctive mark of man’s agajnst Finally, satiated and weary of this monotonous extravagance and the sameness of their caresses, he had plunged into the foul depths, hoping by the contrast of squalid misery to revive his desires and stimulate his deadened senses.

The bulk of the book is a treatise, in the form of private discourses, on the pleasures of art and literature and sounds and scents, etc.

Against Nature

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. See 2 questions about Against Nature…. In the open fields, under the shadow of high ricks, he would lie, listening to the hollow splashing of the mills and inhaling the huysmann breeze from Voulzie.

On the offchance anyone else who cares about such things is reading, the previous one was Bvlgari Black, and the current one is L’air de Rien. The main dude, also, is extraneurotic, extraordinarily rich, aestheticized to the extreme, and willfully isolated from the world.

Against The Grain, or Against Nature

A rich and decadent novel featuring just one man, the jaded aristocrat Des Esseintes, who leads an isolated life fuelled by his passions for excess and self-indulgence. Quotes from Against Nature. It will be something nobody has ever done before, and I shall have said what I want to say Huymans views his protagonist with devastating irony, particularly in the frequent juxtaposition of grandiose schemes with physical illnesses and practical and psychological failings.

Michel Houellebecq, Marcel Proust. That ancient portrait revealed a very decadent looking individual with a sly, vulpine look on his narrow face. 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.


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 huyssman reach became completely compelling.

Menaced with scrofula and afflicted with relentless fevers, he yet succeeded in crossing the breakers of adolescence, thanks to fresh air and careful attention. And whilst I am, thank goodness, not so impossibly fussy as d’E, I can certainly hear my younger self – or myself as I might be if trapped for too long in the wrong place – in his elitist frustrations “Did he know one man capable of appreciating? Natufe scarcely admitted—in theory at least—any exceptions to natkre rule; thus it limited itself to depicting common existence, and struggled, under the pretext of being true to life, to create characters who would be as close as possible to the average run of mankind.

For what could [I] hope, if not new disillusionments? Each chapter has a theme: He reso It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. Nelson, Robert Jay He is not pursuing his own desires, he is not following his own thoughts and needs, and so huysmwn is never satisfied.