The infamous inspiration for the novel which slowly corrupts Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray
is translated by Robert Baldick with an introduction by Patrick McGuinness in Penguin Classics. A wildly original fin-de-siècle novel, Against Nature 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.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848–1907) is recognized as one of the most challenging and innovative figures in European literature and acknowledged as principal architect of the fin-de-siècle imagination. He was a career civil servant who wrote ten novels, most notably A Rebours… More about Joris-Karl Huysmans