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By Joris-Karl Huysmans, Robert Baldick

A wildly unique fin-de-siècle novel, Against Nature follows its sole personality, Des Esseintes, a decadent, ill aristocrat who retreats to an remoted villa the place he indulges his flavor for luxurious and extra. Veering among anxious excitability and debilitating ennui, he gluts his aesthetic appetites with classical literature and paintings, unique jewels (with which he fatally encrusts the shell of his tortoise), wealthy perfumes, and a kaleidoscope of sensual studies. the unique instruction manual of decadence, Against Nature exploded “like a grenade” (in the phrases of its writer) and has loved a cult readership from its book to the current day.

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Extra resources for Against Nature (A Rebours)

Example text

Norbert welcomed me into an office that would have satisfied the stuffiest of London solicitors, all dark wood and leather. It was his office, for this man, despite being scarcely ten years older than I, was now the senior partner in the august firm that had served my father in life and after. The elder Norbert and his contemporary partner had both succumbed in the influenza epidemic of 1919, leaving the son of one and a twenty-year-old grandson of the other in charge. Norbert had done his best to fill the impressive surroundings, but I thought that even now he was slightly intimidated, and would have been more comfortable among lighter, more modern furnishings.

A week in California, tying up business, and then we can turn for home. ” I don't get seasick on trains. ” “To draw up the papers for selling the house and business? ” This noncommittal, pseudo-Socratic dialogue was beginning to annoy. ” I snapped. I should never have told him about them, although it would have been difficult not to, considering the closeness of the quarters. ” “Oh for heaven's sake, Holmes, you sound like Freud. The man had sex on the brain. ‘Rooms in dreams are generally women,' he declares.

He had his pipe between his teeth, and was concentrating on rolling up the pouch, so I shut my eyes again. “Terra firma,” I said. “A week in California, tying up business, and then we can turn for home. ” I don't get seasick on trains. ” “To draw up the papers for selling the house and business? ” This noncommittal, pseudo-Socratic dialogue was beginning to annoy. ” I snapped. I should never have told him about them, although it would have been difficult not to, considering the closeness of the quarters.

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Against Nature (A Rebours) by Joris-Karl Huysmans, Robert Baldick


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