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Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans


Infamous as the inspiration for the novel which slowly corrupts Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray.

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Against Nature (A Rebours) contains only one character. Des Esseintes is a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where her 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. Against Nature, in the words of the author, exploded ‘like a meteorite’ and has enjoyed a cult following to this day. This revised edition of Robert Baldick’s lucid translation features a new introduction and a chronology, and reproduces Huysmans’s original 1903 preface as well as a selection of reviews from writers including Mallarmé, Zola and Wilde.

Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) is now recognized as one of the most challenging and innovative figures in European literature and an acknowledged principal architect of the fin-de-siècle imagination. He was a career civil servant who wrote ten novels, most notably A Rebours and Là-Bas.

Additional information

Weight0.314 kg

Against Nature


Penguin Books Ltd


Joris-Karl Huysmans

Book binding


Release date

1 May 2003





ISBN/EAN        9780140447637