Against Nature: A Novel (Paperback)

Against Nature: A Novel By Joris-Karl Huysmans, Theo Cuffe (Translated by), Lucy Sante (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Joris-Karl Huysmans, Theo Cuffe (Translated by), Lucy Sante (Introduction by)
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Joris-Karl Huysmans’s cult classic of deviance and decadence that inspired Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, now in a new translation by Theo Cuffe

A celebration of deviance, vanity, sensual abandon, and the aesthetics of artifice, Against Nature brings us the nineteenth-century rebel Jean Des Esseintes—disaffected, degenerate, and art obsessed. The last of a proud and noble family, Des Esseintes retreats from the world in disgust at bourgeois society and leads a life based on cultivation of the senses through art. He distills perfumes from the rarest oils and essences, creates a garden of poisonous flowers, sets gemstones in a tortoise’s gold-painted shell, and plans to corrupt a street urchin until he is degraded enough to commit murder. Des Esseintes’s groundbreaking aesthetic pilgrimage in Against Nature has served as the guidebook to decadence for more than a century, inspiring writers from Oscar Wilde to Michel Houellebecq.

A pioneer whose early work took inspiration from Baudelaire and Zola, Joris-Karl Huysmans was a founder of the nineteenth-century decadent movement. Against Nature has influenced countless writers and artists and enjoys a cult following to this day. This new translation by Theo Cuffe, with a foreword by Lucy Sante, captures the magnificence of Huysmans’s famous style—filled with wit and irony, expressiveness and precision, erudition and sensuality.

About the Author

Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) was a French novelist and art critic who was one of the founders of the Decadent Movement in France. His most famous novel Against Nature (A rebours) was a foundational novel of the Decadent Movement in France. He also wrote novels in the Naturalist tradition of Emile Zola, including Marthe, Histoire d'une fille, Les Soeurs Vatard, and En menage and poetry inspired by Baudelaire's work.

Theo Cuffe is known for his translations of classic French literature, including Voltaire’s Candide and Micromégas and Other Short Fictions.

Lucy Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium. Her books include Low Life, The Other Paris, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, and Kill All Your Darlings. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships. Sante has contributed to The New York Review of Books since 1981, and has written for many other magazines. She is the visiting professor of writing and the history of photography at Bard College and lives in Ulster County, New York.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250787668
ISBN-10: 1250787661
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
Pages: 304
Language: English