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Joris-Karl Huysmans - Against the Grain

Joris-Karl Huysmans - Against the Grain

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Published by: soundscape84 on Nov 17, 2010
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ciently docile. Others bent their heads under rebukes and returned to the

ranks; but he was the enfant terrible, and was unrecognized by the party.

In a literary way, he pursued women whom he dragged into the sanctu-

ary. Nay, even that vast disdain was invoked, with which Catholicism

enshrouds talent to prevent excommunication from putting beyond the

pale of the law a perplexing servant who, under pretext of honoring his

masters, broke the window panes of the chapel, juggled with the holy

pyxes and executed eccentric dances around the tabernacle.

Two works of Barbey d'Aurevilly specially attracted Des Esseintes, the

Prêtre marié and the Diaboliques. Others, such as the Ensorcelé, the

107

Chevalier des touches and Une Vieille Maîtresse, were certainly more com-

prehensive and more finely balanced, but they left Des Esseintes un-

touched, for he was really interested only in unhealthy works which

were consumed and irritated by fever.

In these all but healthy volumes, Barbey d'Aurevilly constantly hesit-

ated between those two pits which the Catholic religion succeeds in re-

conciling: mysticism and sadism.

In these two books which Des Esseintes was thumbing, Barbey had

lost all prudence, given full rein to his steed, and galloped at full speed

over roads to their farthest limits.

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