Against Nature

Against Nature

3.89 (7,244 ratings by Goodreads)
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As Joris-Karl Huysmans predicted in 1884, Against Nature (A rebours) was fated to be a novel like no other. Resisting the models of classic nineteenth-century fiction, it focuses on the attempts of its anti-hero, the hypersensitive neurotic and aesthete Des Esseintes, to escape Paris and the vulgarity of modern life. Holed up in his private museum of high taste, he indulges his pleasure in fine art and literature. A compendium of fin-de-siecle cultural decadence, Against Nature anticipates strains of modernism in its appreciation of Baudelaire, Moreau, Redon, Mallarme, and Poe. This new translation is supplemented by substantial annotation to enhance the understanding of a highly allusive more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 111.76 x 180.34 x 17.78mm | 113.4g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140440860
  • 9780140440867

Review Text

In this the revolt against social norms is quite different - no agonized critique, but a velvet-lined rut of withdrawal. Des Esseintes, the decadent, aristocratic antihero of the novel, having tried all that the natural world has to offer, withdraws more and more into an artifical, aesthetic realm of his own devising: a literal paradis artificiel. At one and the same time a breviary of decadence, and also its apotheosis. Against Nature was one of Wilde's key texts, and the inspiration for much of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Review by author WILL SELF. One of the quintessential books of the era, this strange novel catalogues the perverse and recherche tastes of the eccentric, reclusive, aristocratic dandy duc Jean Floressas des Esseintes. Oscar Wilde was fascinated when he first read it, calling it (in the words of Sir Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray) 'the strangest book that he had ever read', while Beardsley, equally struck, decorated his rooms according to descriptions in the book. Baldick's old Penguin Classics translation comes closer than any other version to the bizarre, mesmeric and almost unbreathable atmosphere of Huysmans's French original. Review by Stephen Calloway author of 'Baroque, Baroque' (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

7,244 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 35% (2,527)
4 33% (2,415)
3 21% (1,513)
2 8% (563)
1 3% (226)
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