By Joris-Karl Huysmans, Patrick McGuinness

The hero of this curious novel is des Esseintes, a neurasthenic aristocrat who has grew to become his again at the vulgarity of contemporary lifestyles and retreated to an remoted kingdom villa. right here, observed purely by way of a few silent servants, he pursues his obsessions with unique vegetation, infrequent gem stones, and intricate perfumes and embarks on a chain of more and more unusual aesthetic experiments, beginning with the choice to provide his great puppy tortoise a jewel-encrusted shell...

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19. Ezra Pound, ‘The Approach to Paris’, New Age, 9 October 1913. Further Reading EDITIONS OF AGAINST NATURE A Rebours (Paris: Charpentier, 1884). First edition. A Rebours (Paris: A. Lepère, 1903). Limited edition (130 copies) with ‘Preface written twenty years after the novel’. A Rebours appears in volume VII of the Oeuvres complètes of Huysmans (Paris: Crès, 1929; reprinted Geneva: Slatkine, 1972). There are two outstanding modern editions: Marc Fumaroli’s (Paris: Folio/Gallimard, 1977), and Rose Fortassier’s (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1981).

Borie, Jean, Huysmans: Le Diable, le célibataire et Dieu (Paris: Grasset, 1991). -K. Huysmans à la recherche de l’unité (Paris: Nizet, 1953). -K. Huysmans (Paris: Gallimard/Foliothèque, 1996). Huneker, James Gibbons, ‘The Pessimist’s Progress’, in Egoists: A Book of Supermen (New York: Scribner, 1909). -K. 1990). BACKGROUND AND CONTEXTS Birkett, Jennifer, The Sins of the Fathers: Decadence in France, 1870–1914 (London: Quartet, 1986). Griffiths, Richard, The Reactionary Revolution: The Catholic Revival in French Literature 1870–1914 (London: Constable, 1966).

It is a book of endings; yet for its author in his ‘Preface Written Twenty Years after the Novel’ (Appendix I), it is also a compendium of beginnings. 4 The novel has retained its cultish hold, as Marianne Faithfull recalls in her autobiography: ‘You would ask your date, “Do you know Genet? ’5 It is a fine irony that a novel about an impotent, reclusive and prematurely aged reactionary should become a must-read in the vigorous counter-culture of the 1960s. Today’s readers may or may not feel the same as Dorian Gray or Marianne Faithfull; what is certain is that they will find it unlike any work of fiction they have encountered.

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