‘He drank this liquid perfume from cups of that oriental porcelain known as egg-shell china, it is so delicate and diaphanous’
A wildly original fin de siècle novel, Against Nature contains only one character. De Esseinte is a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where he 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 grenade’ and has a cult following to this day.
This revised edition of Robert Baldick’s lucid translation, features a new introduction, a chronology and reproduces Huysman’s original 1903 preface as well as a selection of reviews from writers including Mallarme, Zola and Wilde.