CUT THE RIBBON, JORIS-KARL HUYSMANS
Posted on January 14, 2013 by admin
French of Duch origins, writer Joris-Karl Huysmans was born in 1848. First considered part of Naturalism, he became associated with the decadent movement with his publication of À rebours. Despite the variety of his work, Huysmans is the example of a person who changed many time during in life. For thirty-two years he worked as a civil servant for the French Ministry of the Interior, a job he found tedious but he also entered the “Zola Club” and started to write because that was what he liked more. His oeuvre is complex, his writing is exquisite and refined but it’s for the novel À rebours (Against The Grain) that he definitely cut the ribbon. Jean Des Esseintes is the last member of a powerful and once proud noble family. He has lived an extremely decadent life in Paris, which has left him disgusted with human society. Without telling anyone, he retreats to a house in the countryside. He fills the house with his eclectic art collection and decides to spend the rest of his life in intellectual and aesthetic contemplation.
Love it or hate it, À rebours is the very first novel that follows the life of a dandy. The book that impressed Oscar Wilde himself, the book in which you can read about a person choosing the color of his wall in a maniac way (about 5 pages)…and the book in which a person, in order to exalt his new carpet’s color, decide to buy a turtle to be place on it. But then the turtle is too dark and the carpet gets too much red shades and Des Esseintes decided not only to paint the shell in gold but also to add some precious stones, but not vulgar diamonds everybody can have, some Japanese rare stones you can buy somewhere complicated (about 5 pages). Delirium, obsession, research for perfection and beauty: the dandiest of all the dandies who cut the ribbon first was Huysmans.