Zenosbooks

(04/04/2015) Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Baltimore. 1959. Penguin Books. A new translation from the French by Robert Baldick. With An Introduction by Robert Baldick. 220 pages. L86. paperback.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

penguin against nature l86   First published in 1884, Huysmans’ A Rebours caused a sensation. Oscar Wilde made it a textbook for Dorian Gray, observing: ‘It was the strangest book that he had ever read’. The novel recounts the exotic practices and perverse pleasures of Due Jean Floressas des Esseintes, a wealthy aesthete in search of an elusive ideal. In his neurotic sensibility, his passion for novelty, Des Esseintes foreshadows every unhappy, solitary hero of the twentieth century; he epitomizes the spiritual anguish of modern times. Robert Baldick’s translation preserves the richness and complexity of Huysmans’ style, making this unique work fascinating reading.

 

  Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans (February 5, 1848 – May 12, 1907) was a French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans. He is most famous for the novel À rebours (1884, published in English as Against the Grain or Against Nature). He supported himself by a 30-year career in the French civil service. Huysmans' work is considered remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, large vocabulary, descriptions, satirical wit and far-ranging erudition. First considered part of Naturalism in literature, he became associated with the decadent movement with his publication of À rebours. His work expressed his deep pessimism, which had led him to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. In later years, his novels reflected his study of Catholicism, religious conversion, and becoming an oblate. He discussed the iconography of Christian architecture at length in La cathédrale (1898), set at Chartres and with its cathedral as the focus of the book. Là-bas (1891), En route (1895) and La cathédrale (1898) are a trilogy that feature Durtal, an autobiographical character whose spiritual progress is tracked and who converts to Catholicism. In the novel that follows, L'Oblat (1903), Durtal becomes an oblate in a monastery, as Huysmans himself was in the Benedictine Abbey at Ligugé, near Poitiers, in 1901. La cathédrale was his most commercially successful work. Its profits enabled Huysmans to retire from his civil service job and live on his royalties.

 

 

Check zenosbooks.com for either a used or a new copy of this book, or you can add it to your wishlist.

 

 

 

 


Search

Zeno's Picks

New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books

18 December 2018

Recent items from nybooks.com
  • ‘The Weekly Standard’: a Record of Failed Regime Change
    For most neocons, however, journalism has never been more than a Leninist means to an end—to form an intellectual vanguard. For it is political influence that the neocons crave. Kristol worked to destroy the 1993 Clinton Healthcare bill and sought...
  • Let the People Take Back Control of Brexit
    A university degree was the best predictor of how you would vote in the 2016 EU referendum. In a very real sense, it was a tug of war between those who do and those who don’t have agency in their lives. Three years later, it still is. For those who...
  • Regulate It, Man
    Emily Dufton’s timely book Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America deftly chronicles the battle over the most popular semi-illegal substance in the US. It is a story of revolution, counterrevolution, pyrrhic...
  • Walton Ford: Twenty-First-Century Naturalist
    Since the 1990s, Walton Ford has been retrospectively caught up in the nineteenth century’s obsession with nature, back when the mountains were crawling with lions, and the sky was full of birds. His new series “Barbary,” on display at Kasmin’s new...
  • India’s Farmers on the March
    Agriculture in India relies heavily on rain and temperature in the growing season; farmers here are highly sensitive to climate. They have already felt the beginning of the apocalypse in the form of dried-up wells, declining yields, and mass...
  • Hive Mentalities
    Bees evolved from wasp ancestors around 100 million years ago. Most wasps are sleek carnivores, but bees are flower-loving, long-haired, and often social vegetarians (the branched hairs that cover their bodies trap pollen, which, along with nectar,...
  • War Song
    1937
    Beckett got
    stabbed by
    pliant spear
    of a stranger,
    one Paris night.
  • American Women of the Far Right
    Much has been said and written about the “toxic masculinity” of the far right and white supremacy, but on the other side is a toxic femininity just as invested in the idea of a whiteness as victimized, at risk, and requiring protection. Not all...
  • The Pro-Israel Push to Purge US Campus Critics
    The US Department of Education recently adopted a new definition of anti-Semitism, one that equates any criticism of Israel with a hatred of Jews. Watching how Temple University leaders failed to defend Professor Marc Lamont Hill when the...

Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

18 December 2018

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • The Ritz Carltons, by Fillmore Hyde (1927)

    Remember when it was still possible to make fun of rich people? Like Thurston Howell III and his wife, Lovey, on Gilligan’s Island? Or the silly, spoiled heiresses in High Society and My Man Godfrey? Well, if you’re nostalgic for a time when the idle rich were valid objects of ridicule instead of reality TV... Read more

    The post ...

  • All Night at Mr. Stanyhurst’s, by Hugh Edwards (1933)

    Except. Remember that Lucy is described as Stanyhurst’s sixteen year-old mistress. We learn that he first met Lucy at the age of fourteen, when she was the mistress of his uncle, Lord Cluny, and that he eventually steals the girl away from him. At the start of the evening, before the abbé and the sailor... Read more

    The post ...

  • Jesus Be a Fence Around Me, by the Soul Stirrers (1961)

    I want to go off piste for a moment to talk about my second love. About the same time I became interested in discovering neglected books, I also started to read and listen to ever-expanding circles of music. I think it was Peter Guralnick’s Feel Like Going Home that hooked me, but it could just... Read more

    The post ...

  • The Last Blue Sea, by David Forrest (1959)

    David Forrest was the pen-name of Australian writer, academic and historian David Denholm (1924-1997). Among his numerous works of non-fiction, including an acclaimed history, The Colonial Australians about the early white settlement of the country, were a few novels. The Last Blue Sea, published in 1959, was his first. The book drew considerably praise and... Read

    ...
  • A Letter from My Father, edited by Page Smith (1976)

    “It was my father’s strange conceit to write me a letter, the writing of which extended over a period of more than thirty years, and which, ultimately, reached ten thousand pages in length, a total of over two and a half million words,” Page Smith writes in his introduction to this book, which should be... Read more

    The post ...

  • A Walk in the Sun, by Harry Brown (1944)

    A Walk in the Sun was a slim war novel first published in 1944 which generated considerable hype and attention upon its initial release, followed closely by a successful film version. Yet, despite the praise of many reviewers and the conviction that this was a major work of war fiction, the book was soon forgotten.... Read more

    The post ...

  • Inez Holden: A Memoir, by Anthony Powell

    From London Magazine, Oct/Nov 1974, Vol. 14 No. 4, a remembrance of Inez Holden, author of There’s No Story There, reviewed here in August: Inez Holden died on 30 May this year. She had been unwell for some little time, but her death was unexpectedly sudden. I never had what might be called a day-to-day... Read more

    The post ...

  • The King of the Barbareens, by Janet Hitchman (1960)

    The King of the Barbareens is a memoir of a childhood spent as a bit of flotsam tossed about in the social welfare system that existed in England in the early part of the 20th century. Apart from an impression of watching an Armistice parade at the age of two, Janet Hitchman’s first memories are... Read more

    The post ...

  • Signed With Their Honour, by James Aldridge (1942)

    James Aldridge (1918- 2015) was an Australian journalist and war correspondent who covered the Second World War in Greece, Crete and North Africa 1940-1941. Signed With Their Honour was his first novel. Aldridge enjoyed a period of considerable success in the late-war to post-war period and his biggest-selling novel was The Diplomat published in 1949.... Read

    ...
  • “The City Cosmic,” by Roy Ivan Johnson, from The Fourth Watch

    The City Cosmic This morning The lure of the street Entangled my feet And I walked … and walked … and walked … I turned into the narrowest streets, I breathed the smoke of the factories, I smelled the reek and rot of the tenements; I passed by ancient spacious lawns and piles of masonry... Read more

    The post ...

Copyright © 2018 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.