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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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This cerebral clinic where, vivisecting in a stifling atmosphere, that spiritual surgeon became, as soon as his attention flagged, a prey to an imagination which evoked, like delicious miasmas, somnambulistic and angelic apparitions, was to Des Esseintes a source of unwearying conjecture.

Sensitive to the remotest affinities, he would often use a term that by analogy suggested at once form, scent, colour, quality, and brilliance, to indicate a creature or thing to which he would have had to attach a host of different epithets in order to bring out all its various aspects and qualities, if it had merely been referred to by its huysmn name. Huysmans even gives des Esseintes an interest in chemical experiments just as Dr Jekyll had, and huyman is passionate about poisonous plants and all sorts of esoteric theories and practices.

I liked the strange little anecdote of his liaison with a US circus performer, which read like an Angela Carter short story. Nelson, Robert Jay He has a garden of semi-pornographically described carnivorous plants. He considered the crabbed expressions of some, insulting.

À rebours – Wikipedia

On the contrary, he was absolutely incapable of construing two Greek words, showed no aptitude for living languages and promptly proved himself a dunce when obliged to master the elements of the sciences. My own interest in Decadence begins with the fantastic proto-surrealist work of Symbolist painters like Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau, both of whose paintings are of special importance to Des Essientes.

Just a terrible, terrible mistake. The Floressas Des Esseintes, to judge by the various portraits preserved in the Chateau de Lourps, had originally been a family of stalwart troopers and stern cavalry men. The problem is that he isn’t willing to admit that as a human being, not a robot, he must inevitably deal with nature in some way because he IS a part of nature, and that fact kind of puts a sad glaze on all of his ramblings on how beautiful “things” are.


Trivia About Against Nature. Huysmans is at his strongest in passages of sensual pleasure. Along the book we are witnesses to his tastes in a number of realms, such as painting, literature, flowers, perfumes and music.

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.

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

Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. 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. It is a minor disappointment, however, when compared to the rest of this varied, highly accomplished work….

Whatever he attempted proved vain; an unconquerable ennui oppressed him. By the way, if you can, try obtaining a copy of the book with Arthur Zaidenberg’s illustrations; they are an exquisite addition. I shall have contributed, to the best of my ability, to the making of a scoundrel, one enemy the more for the hideous society which is bleeding us white.

Yet, ironically, he also complains about how there is ‘nothing genuine’ left in the world, how it is all artificial 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.

A dense drug trip. The difficulty of reaching the place, due to an unreliable railroad passing by at the end of the town, and to the little street buysman which came and went at irregular intervals, reassured him. There were some fawning and complacent people who pretended to consider him a great man, the reservoir of learning, the encyclopedic giant of the age.

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. It will appeal to anyone with an appreciation for good literature, art, and music.


The lad passed the summer vacations at the Chateau de Lourps, but his presence could not seduce his mother from her reveries.

By protracted contemplation of the same thoughts, his mind grew sharp, his vague, undeveloped ideas took on form.

In the last lines of the book, he compares his return to human society to that of a non-believer trying to embrace religion. For one, the fact that this contrary soul ahainst indeed human despite the weirdly grotesque passions that power it, and through all the oddities Des Esseintes surrounds himself one can still see the insolvable human condition that plagues every one of us. At the very moment that Wilde was falling in with social patterns, he was confronted with a book which wgainst in its title defied them.

In addition, in huysmzn than a few passages–Des Esseintes scheme for making a murderer out of a street boy is the most remarkable example–Huysmans obliquely reveals a consciousness of the plight of the poor that suggests a world of Christian compassion and duty beyond all this preciousness. He reached the conclusion that the world, for the most part, was composed of scoundrels and imbeciles Of course, as they observe, blasphemy reading “against nature” as “against god” only has real meaning from one who aganist at root a believer.

Irritated, ill at ease and offended by the poverty of ideas given and received, he became like those people described by Nicole — those who are always melancholy. The Legend of the Decadents. The book relates the varied and surprisingly resourceful experiments in aesthetic decadence undertaken by a bored huyxman.