Against the Grain

Against the Grain This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers You may find it for free on the web Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery

  • Title: Against the Grain
  • Author: Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 424
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers You may find it for free on the web Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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    About “Joris-Karl Huysmans

    • Joris-Karl Huysmans

      Charles Marie Georges Huysmans was a French novelist who published his works as Joris Karl Huysmans He is most famous for the novel rebours Against Nature His style is remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, wide ranging vocabulary, wealth of detailed and sensuous description, and biting, satirical wit The novels are also noteworthy for their encyclopaedic documentation, ranging from the catalogue of decadent Latin authors in rebours to the discussion of the symbology of Christian architecture in La cath drale Huysmans work expresses a disgust with modern life and a deep pessimism, which led the author first to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer then to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    483 thoughts on “Against the Grain

    • Did I really read this book forty years ago? Or did I just read the passages about the "perfume organ" and the jewel encrusted turtle and later assumed I had read the rest? If I did read it, I was completely wrong in my evaluation of this as a static, effete precursor to "Dorian Gray," a work marooned in the vanished aesthetic of the late nineteenth century. No, no. "Against the Grain" is much, much richer than that.For starters, it is an accomplished work of realism that turns realism on its he [...]


    • “Already, he was dreaming of a refined solitude, a comfortable desert, a motionless ark in which to seek refuge from the unending deluge of human stupidity.”― Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against the GrainAgainst the Grain (alternately translated as Against Nature) is a slim novel (110 pages) where French author Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) employs a torrent of baroque descriptions and unending streams of rococo linguistic curlicues to write about a bored, jaded aristocrat by the name of Des Es [...]


    • The hipsters are right: society is trying to destroy you--not your body, or your mind, but you, the part which makes an individual. That's what society is: the aspect of human life that is not the self, but is communal, the part that causes humanity to behave like a colony of ants.As brilliant Nietzsche scholar Rick Roderick pointed out, advertisement is the opposite of psychotherapy. The idea of therapy is to take things that are hidden within your brain--biases, prejudices, hangups, fears, hab [...]


    • After feasting on an excessive orgy of oysters, smoked salmon, quail eggs, marinated lobster, rare partridge breast, honey glazed pig trotters and spiced wine, I followed with a desert consisting of apple strudel with clotted cream and sticky chocolate pudding in a warm orange sauce, I took to the sofa in front of the open log fire while stretching my feet out on the Persian rug, keeping my fine Turkish cigarettes and bottle of plum brandy close at hand I finished reading 'À rebours'(Against Na [...]


    • It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. You weren't limited to just creating a novel; if you were talented, you could create a whole new kind of novel. Here, Huysmans has written the first example known to me of the novel where nothing happens. Frail, sickly des Esseintes has dissipated a good part of his inheritance on various kinds of vice (there is a memorable passage early on about the mirrors in his bedroom). Now he's tired of it. He reso [...]


    • If Proust composed his In Search of Lost Time without having read this book, I'll eat my hat. 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. And it could have been sheer coincidence that Hu [...]


    • "The world is too much with us; late and soon," Wordsworth wrote in 1802, "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." Joris-Karl Huysmans' fin de siècle novel, Against Nature (À Rebours), tells the story of an aristocratic dandy who finds the realities (more specifically, the vulgarities) of everyday life so insufferable that he decides to lock himself away in a house at Fontenay-aux-Roses, "far from the incessant deluge of human folly," to live a solitary life through books, paintings, a [...]


    • Decadent Rants and HaranguesThis 1884 novel is a wonderful assemblage of prescient and decadent rants.Something Huysmans says of another book of rants could apply equally to his own work:"Conceived as harangues, they contained a certain strong muscular energy and were astonishing in the intolerance of their convictions."Scoundrels and ImbecilesJean Des Esseintes (I'll call him Des E for short) fills his life with literature, art, music, furniture, jewelry, flowers, perfumes, food and liquor.His [...]


    • An ornate, sickly, claustropobic book, full of fascinating discussions about art and literature, and studded with items of outré vocabulary (I still haven’t worked out what mœchialogie means). It is a novel for people who like talking about novels – the plot itself is slim and of little importance. I’ll summarise it quickly: des Esseintes, a rich, effete aristocrat, retires from a life of excess and debauchery to live in his retreat at Fontenay outside Paris, where he shuts himself off f [...]



    • A dense drug trip. This celebrated work (1884) offers sensual and philosophic ruminations. There's no story. Each chapter has a theme: art, religion, literature, society, etc. Huysmans lauds paintersGustave Moreau and Odilon Redon; writers Baudelaire, Mallarme, Poe. On a Symbolist "high," the reclusive hero seeks "new perfumes, ampler blossoms, untried pleasures." He arranges obscure words like exotic flowers as he speaks of a mistress "who loved to have her nipples macerated in scents." Between [...]


    • Some top reviews on here already, let me point you towards Manny, Lee, and Nate for excerpts and analysis. I feel no need to review this one, so I shan’t trouble you for likes (Mike—I mean it!) In short, I loved the ornate, glissading descriptions of art, music, perfume, theological texts, peptone enemas, and the fabulous namedropping of French writers such as the Goncourt Brothers, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Charles Cros, Verlaine, Mallarmé, Ernest Hello, Léon Bloy, Barbey d’Aurevilly, [...]


    • 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. What strength is left to him he expends obsessing over art, literature, design, and even gardening, in dissertations on artificiality and garish morbid splendor that comp [...]


    • If the hero of this novel had a more anglo-friendly name, it would be the byword for hyper-neurotic aesthete dandies, as Sherlock Holmes is in the world of detective. I don’t know how to properly pronounce des Esseintes, so I have always referred to him as that guy from Huysmans’ novel. Truth be told I don’t even know how to properly pronounce Huysmans, or rather I think I do but when I do I feel self-conscious. So I usually just spend my time thinking about des Esseintes and Huysmans, rat [...]


    • I don’t know intentionally or not but Against Nature is an absolute opposite of Walden by Henry David Thoreau and it is a complete denial of nature.“Nature, he used to say, has had her day; she has finally and utterly exhausted the patience of sensitive observers by the revolting uniformity of her landscapes and skyscapes. After all, what platitudinous limitations she imposes, like a tradesman specializing in a single line of business; what petty-minded restrictions, like a shopkeeper stocki [...]


    • One doesn't read A Rebours, one lives in it, like a ghost that is compelled to haunt a place even though it would rather leave behind the place in which it was murdered. Once the book is finally closed, one deals with the hangover caused by existentialist self-loathing for every luxury one has ever allowed oneself.


    • Description: Des Esseintes is a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where he indulges his taste for luxury and excess. Veering between nervous excitability and debilitating ennui, he gluts his aesthetic appetites with classical literature and art, exotic jewels (with which he fatally encrusts the shell of his tortoise), rich perfumes, and a kaleidoscope of sensual experiences.Read hereOpening: The Floressas Des Esseintes, to judge by the various portraits preserved in t [...]


    • Difficult to do this one justice. Took forever to read its 200+ dense pages. Well worth it, especially for the plush, precise, unexpected turns of the language, multi-phrase pile-ups on the Trans-European Translation Expressway. Mostly a catalogue of art, books, and music the main dude likes. The main dude, also, is extraneurotic, extraordinarily rich, aestheticized to the extreme, and willfully isolated from the world. He has a garden of semi-pornographically described carnivorous plants. He pa [...]


    • Highly recommended for the adventurous!This is one of those books that you will either love or hate, and whatever reason you would have for either reaction I would completely understand and accept as valid. The book is not unlike a laundry list: if your laundry list happened to divide the clothes into type and color of fabric, dimensions, history of the development of the materials used, the sensation of folding each item and ad infinitum. This is the story of an obsessive looking for order, pai [...]


    • It’s almost short enough to be called a novella but I read Godel, Escher, Bach (~12x this size) a few weeks ago in about half the time it took me to finish this. When I finished, I wanted to faceplant into straight bleach with my eyes open. I don’t know what prompted me to pick this book up, but it was a mistake. Just a terrible, terrible mistake. If I were a person who ever DNF’d stuff, this would be a prime candidate. However, DNFing gives me such deep lingering doubts and guilt that I e [...]


    • This is a brilliant book. Not only is it interesting in and of itself, containing some magnificent writing, but it presents an original and fundamental analysis of the entire movement away from Naturalism (Huysmans began as a disciple of Zola) and into Symbolism (Mallarmé), Decadence, and (hence) into Modernism (including even the strand that issues in the likes of a Julius Evola *). I have learned an enormous amount from reading it.(* p. 146: "In these comparatively healthy volumes Barbey d'Au [...]


    • April 7th, 2016I finished this book more than two months ago and it’s been lying unreviewed since, partly because I hadn’t time to review it and partly because I didn’t know how to review it. 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 least a way to say it, that may not have been thought of before, impossib [...]


    • 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. The last of a Hapsburg-esque line of ancestors, he's a misanthropic aristocrat ailing from generations of inbreeding and a life of excess and immobility, warped from being forever consumed with his own thoughts and nothing else. He builds a new home for himself with the intent of isolation, and pretty much exists within his own material possessions, compl [...]


    • Oxford World's Classics edition translated by Margaret MauldonI finally read this properly in one go Though when I say in one go, that was over a few days: I found it like the richest, most gorgeous cake imaginable. I could hardly imagine anything more wonderful whilst I was reading it, but every now and again I paused, and the pause turned into hours or a day or two as I realised retrospectively a feeling of sensory overload. Perhaps not unlike that des Esseintes experiences when confronted wit [...]


    • ao arrepio - no original À Rebours ou a Bíblia do Decandentismo - é publicado em 1884, provocando uma viragem na corrente literária da altura - o Naturalismo, de que era representante o (meu) Grande Émile Zola - e dando início ao Modernismo. É o livro amarelo que "envenena" Dorian Grey (de Oscar Wilde) e que ele considera responsável pela sua transformação e que o leva à perdição.Era um romance sem enredo e com uma única personagem. Trata-se de um mero estudo psicológico de um det [...]


    • I read this in 1978. I was a freshman at the University of Florida. I took it to a football game to read because I knew I would be bored without a book. I read a passage where Huysmans describes the glorious un-naturalness of the color combination of orange and blue. I laughed out loud. I suppose I should re-read, but my copy , with so many other treasures, has been lost to downsizing. I hope a young person bought it from the library sale and reads it in the bright sunlight.


    • Flabbergastingly weird. This can either be the best reason to give this book a chance, and also the greatest grounds for avoiding it like the plague. Just as a quick ‘heads-up’ for anyone fishing for a better review than my own, this book is titled “A Rebours” in its native French, and I’ve seen this title translated into English as both “Against Nature” and “Against the Grain”, (and while I’m partial to “Against Nature”, I’m sure the Bad Religion fans of the world can [...]


    • Dostoevsky mentioned in Notes From Underground that new technology brought with it merely a capacity for ever more refined sensations. Against Nature completes the idea of a century exhausted by progress. Here the protagonist searches like an addict for new experiences to relieve the boredom and disappointment of modern life. The originality of this novel is its attraction. Only one character, Des Esseintes, makes up the story, and the action takes place mostly in his mind. His search for novelt [...]


    • Livro excepcionalmente estranho e exaustivo. Resolvi aproveitar as muitas horas de leitura que ganhei por dia com o meu recém-obtido desemprego e finalmente encarar, dentre outros, esse livro que adquiri há anos, sobre um esteta recluso.O choque vem de descobrir que o personagem, muito além do que eu imaginava, é de fato um hiperesteta hiperrecluso, para fazer jus à fama que a obra obteve (aparece em Dorian Gray, que a lê e por ela fica aterrorizado; é citado superficial e profundamente e [...]


    • I read Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans, a copy of which I swiped years ago from a professor’s free-book shelf. Oscar Wilde was evidently fascinated by the book, and in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian reads this “poisonous French novel” and is obsessed by it. What sort of book would Dorian Gray enjoy, you ask? Mainly a very long catalogue of the likes and dislikes of an effete, high-strung , overly intellectual wuss possessing far too much time and money and lacking all common sens [...]


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