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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Although he willingly discussed with them those theological doctrines hugsman intrigued his fancy by their subtleties and hair-splittings, they did not even think of training him for the religious orders, since, in spite of their efforts, his faith remained languid.

It was time to make up his mind. Trivia About Against Nature. He recovered, but he was lonely, tired, sobered, imploring an end to his life which the cowardice of his flesh prevented him from consummating. huysmwn

Its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character and is mostly a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero who loathes 19th-century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world of his own creation.

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Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans

He reached the conclusion that the world, for the most part, was composed of scoundrels and imbeciles. Anything else, leave a message. Certainly, he could not hope to discover in others aspirations and aversions similar to his own, could not expect companionship with an intelligence exulting in a studious decrepitude, nor anticipate meeting a mind as keen as his among the writers and scholars.

He could picture himself alone on the bluff, sufficiently far away to prevent the Parisian throngs from reaching him, and yet near enough to the capital to confirm him in his solitude.

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

This celebrated work offers sensual and philosophic ruminations. Then he began to seek out the young men of his own age and set. Of course, the similarities may have been unavoidable when considering that both authors concern themselves with the period of haute couture and Faubourg Saint-Germain culture, and even chose the same aristocrat to model their own wildly eccentric characters on, the Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac inspiring both Huysmans’ Des Esseintes and Proust’s Charlus.


He knows as much about the ecclesiastic nxture of the Church as he knows about the vagaries of wines and perfumes. Highly recommended for the adventurous! It could be called a piece of stove pipe, cut by a chimney-maker into the form of a pike head. 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 buysman ferocity and the effeminate, ambiguous dreams of the ancient East.

In other projects Wikiquote. The servants were old and dull.

Des Essientes, a debauched noble at the end of his line, in rebellion against the modern world, humanity, and nature itself the title is variably translated as “Aganist the Grain” or “Against Nature”sells the family manor and retreats to a country house in order to languish in exquisite hypochondria and nervous affectation. He paints his pet tortoise gold and studs its shell with precious stones.

The long lists of his preferences and dislikes that fill the book are, for the most part, empty opinions. Now, think of how else that space could have been used: It spawned and probably continues to spawn generations of deluded dicks running in circles with their arms around themselves. View all 16 comments. Read this because someone included Huysmans on a list of frustrated idealists that included Bernhard. 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.

So my axis is basically opposite to that of des Esseintes: To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Against the Grain by J.-K. Huysmans

The hipsters are right: Each chapter has a theme: Montesquiou’s furnishings bear a strong resemblance to those in Des Esseintes’s house:. Once the book is finally closed, one deals with the hangover caused by existentialist self-loathing for every luxury one has ever allowed oneself.


They have an internal motivation, a philosophy which tells them what is worthwhile and what is not, and why. He retained but agzinst vague memory of his parents and felt neither affection nor gratitude for them. Cambridge University Press, pp. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. He does show that staying at home doesn’t have to be boring though the richer you are the better in that respect.

Incomprehensible successes had permanently ruined books and paintings for him which he had previously held dear; faced with widespread public approbation, he ended up discovering imperceptible flaws in works, and rejecting them…. She scarcely noticed him; when she did, her gaze would rest on him for a moment with a sad smile — and that was all.

And it could have been sheer coincidence that Huysmans’ huydman into the cyclic throes of obsession and boredom seem almost a basic structure for Proust’s cathedrals of thought and memory. The original handbook of decadence, Against Nature exploded like a grenade in the words of its author and has enjoyed a cult readership from its publication to the present day.

Against The Grain, or Against Nature

I’m not a very good perfumista though because I’m too much of a serial monogamist: Immersed in solitude, he would dream or read far into the night. But soon the time came when he must quit the Jesuit institution. Wgainst protracted contemplation of the same thoughts, his mind grew sharp, his vague, undeveloped ideas took on form. Gay young men dazzled by operettas and races, they played lansquenet and baccarat, staked large fortunes on horses hature cards, and cultivated all the pleasures enchanting to brainless fools.

He grows to scorn his fellow man: Books by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Real iconoclasts are cool. Either this novel is to your taste or it is not. Sep 11, Forrest rated it really liked it.