Against Nature by Joris-karl HuysmansAgainst Nature by Joris-karl Huysmans

Against Nature

byJoris-karl HuysmansTranslated byMargaret MauldonEditorNicholas White

Paperback | June 28, 2009

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`It will be the biggest fiasco of the year - but I don't care a damn! It will be something nobody has ever done before, and I shall have said what I had to say.' As Joris -Karl Huysmans announced in 1884, Against Nature was fated to be a novel like no other. Resisting the models of classic nineteenth-century fiction, it focuses on the attempts of its anti-hero, the hypersensitive neurotic and aesthete, Des Esseintes, to escape Paris and the vulgarity ofmodern life. Holed up in his private museum of high taste, he offers Huysmans's readers a treasure trove of cultural delights which anticipates many of the strains of modernism in its appreciation of Baudelaire, Moreau, Redon, Mallarme and Poe. This new translation is supplemented by indispensablenotes which enhance the understanding of a highly allusive work.
Nicholas White is Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway College, University of London.
Title:Against NatureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.51 inPublished:June 28, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199555117

ISBN - 13:9780199555116


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Decadent Book but Not Much in the Way of a Plot I started reading this book because of the speculation that it is the book that Dorian Gray, in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", is influenced by. If that is the case I can see why it would've been so influential as the main character lives an extremely decadent lifestyle. The text itself was written in such a way as to inspire the imagination, and the descriptions of the various luxuries involved were great. There were many experiences in which the main character describes his choices for certain things in such a splendid manner that it didn't matter that there wasn't much of a plot. For example, the way Des Esseintes chooses the colours in which to decorate his room, the way he picks gems to set on a tortoise's shell, the way he picks flowers through his descriptions of their resemblance to disease, and the way he identifies scents : these are done in such a marvellous way that the descriptions more than make up for the lack of dialogue. The story was interestingly contrasted with the main character suffering from his disease and how he lives so decadently despite the poor state his body is in. The scenes where beauty takes precedence are captivating, and where disease takes hold they become interesting plot-wise but bleak in regards to aesthetics. The prose is pleasant to read, and I can see a similarity with Oscar Wilde's book; I greatly enjoyed that book because of its aesthetic value and philosophical outlook, and this book was one of interest, as well (though, to me, not as good). Because of the lack of plot, this book doesn't seem to intrigue me as much since there is no reason to the obsession with beauty other than to be decadent (whereas with Dorian, it was to show his degeneration with regards to his soul). I did not learn much or feel particularly satisfied (aside from the beautiful descriptions of a hedonistic lifestyle) after putting this book down, but it was still a good and short read. I would've preferred more of a plot, but the writing partially makes up for the lack of dialogue and purpose. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-24