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Against Nature (À Rebours) (eBook)

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Originally published in French under the title “À Rebours” in 1884 and translated into English in 1926, “Against Nature”, also known as “Against the Grain”, is a book by Joris-Karl Huysmans and is well described by its subtitle “A Novel Without a Plot”. The premise of the novel is simple and follows the seclusion of Jean des Esseintes, the last member of a once powerful and noble family. Having lived an extremely decadent life in 19th-century bourgeois Parisian society, Des Esseintes finds himself disgusted with the life he once led and retreats to a house in the countryside. He is intent upon spending the rest of his days in an artistic world of his own making, with his days full of intellectual and aesthetic contemplation. During his many and varied artistic and philosophical experiments, he recalls in detail the debauchery and passion of his Paris days. Due to its decadent content, “Against Nature” created quite a sensation when it was first published. It met with great commercial success however, and in breaking from the Naturalist school of literature, Huysman’s work established itself as an important and influential novel of the Symbolist aesthetic.

Originally published in French under the title “À Rebours” in 1884 and translated into English in 1926, “Against Nature”, also known as “Against the Grain”, is a book by Joris-Karl Huysmans and is well described by its subtitle “A Novel Without a Plot”. The premise of the novel is simple and follows the seclusion of Jean des Esseintes, the last member of a once powerful and noble family. Having lived an extremely decadent life in 19th-century bourgeois Parisian society, Des Esseintes finds himself disgusted with the life he once led and retreats to a house in the countryside. He is intent upon spending the rest of his days in an artistic world of his own making, with his days full of intellectual and aesthetic contemplation. During his many and varied artistic and philosophical experiments, he recalls in detail the debauchery and passion of his Paris days. Due to its decadent content, “Against Nature” created quite a sensation when it was first published. It met with great commercial success however, and in breaking from the Naturalist school of literature, Huysman’s work established itself as an important and influential novel of the Symbolist aesthetic.


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