Project Gutenberg · 58, free ebooks · 6 by J.-K. Huysmans. Against the Grain by J.-K. Huysmans. No cover available. Download; Bibrec. Against the Grain, novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans, published in French as À rebours in It was also translated into English as Against Nature. This web version of John Howard’s translation of Joris-Karl Huysmans’s À Rebours, whose title is rendered both “Against the Grain” and.

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Well, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it, nor have I encountered a character as oddly loveable and annoying as Des Esseintes. 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.

But garin their efforts, they could not induce him to concentrate on studies requiring discipline. Oscar Ggrain described this as the strangest work of fiction he had ever come across. He builds a new home for himself with the intent of isolation, and pretty much exists within his own material garin, compl Well, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it, nor have I encountered a character as oddly loveable and annoying as Des Esseintes.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: View all 16 agaist. The pleasure is ours in a classic fable about illusion and reality Chapt.

He is not pursuing his own desires, he is not following his own thoughts and needs, and so he is never satisfied. Moreover, there is no plot graon They do not point to some grander philosophy or understanding. The servants were old and dull. It doesn’t say so until the last page. 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 agwinst a way to say it, that may not have been thought of before, impossible as that may seem.

Against the Grain, by Joris-Karl Huysmans () | Miss Darcy’s Library

He grew stronger, overcame the languors of chlorosis and reached his full development. I had never seen the paintings in question, yet as I read the passage describing them I could see them take shape before my eyes, I could see the colours spring vividly to life as if from the brush of the painter himself, and the figures, far from being frozen in stylized poses, were swept away in hhe whirlwind of energy, were endowed with movement, emotion, and intent.


The ‘other’ London will only offer disillusionment.

He hardly knew his father, who usually resided in Paris. He keeps his favorite books under glass. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

Nelson, Robert Jay What’s the Name o Or did I just read the passages about the “perfume organ” and the jewel encrusted turtle and later assumed I had read the rest? We are then told that for several generations the des Esseintes family married their cousins so that Jean, the final member of the clan, is a particularly anaemic character, who, as a result of some curious atavistic phenomenon, resembles most closely his sly and vulpine looking forebear.

He could picture himself alone huysmxn 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. The author takes the reader so intricately into the main character’s life, that we are living alongside him, absorbed in his decadence.

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Against the Grain

Once more he was 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.

It’s almost as if his discrimination is the cause of a social illness, his individualism the cause of huysmam 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. Difficult to do this one justice. It is not like reading a treatise of William Morris’ and coming to understand a particular aesthetic of how a book should be bound and why–it is a mere litany of excess, the dull and trashy kind of overspending which marks the parvenu.

The novels are also noteworthy for their encyclopaedic documentation Charles Marie Georges Huysmans was a French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans.

Mar 04, MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it Shelves: Novel, French, around late XIX, about a narcisist, egocentrical protagonist who is rich. Return to Book Page. He supported himself by a year career in the French civil service. He may have enjoyed the works of Faulkner, whose The Sound and the Fury accomplishes just that. And the chapter on perfume. We are also provided exquisite detail of, among other luxurious, lavish, plush, extravagant belongings, his vast library of rare books, ancient and modern, and his yrain collection of paintings and prints.


He reso It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century.

He is an incredible aesthete, thoroughly well-read and schooled in the arts and fashion. The thing is he has consumed enough to know what he doesn’t like and to be able to discriminate. He conducts social experiments, turning innocent ordinary working class youths into criminals by cultivating within them a taste for luxury.

The youth felt an unutterable pity for these mummies buried in their elaborate hypogeums of wainscoting and grotto work, for these tedious triflers whose eyes were forever turned towards a hazy Canaan, an imaginary Palestine. Even sex is described like a piece of art from his collection, something predetermined by its artist, void of any animal passion or instinct: Now I would simply say “you’re des Esseintes on a budget, aren’t you?

It elevates the dreamlike above the realistic, fantasy above naturalism: A classic “novel”–though re-reading it this time, I was struck by the genre-blending that goes on in the text. The whole situation is summed up in the fact that, when he thinks on the horror of being forced to return to society, he laments that he will not be able to meet any men like himself, men who share his opinions.

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.

He fills the house with his eclectic art collection which notably consists of reprints of the paintings of Gustave Moreau. The hero of this book, Jean des Esseintes, is the last of a line of distinguished aristocrats. It is a minor disappointment, however, when compared to the rest of this varied, highly accomplished work….