7 Charles Péguy, ‘L’Argent’ in Œuvres en proses complètes III , ed, by Robert Burac (Paris: Gallimard, 1992 ), pp. 785–847 (p. 790).
8 Péguy, ‘Un nouveau théologien’, p. 438.
9 J. K. Huysmans, Sainte Lydwine de Schiedam (Paris: Maren Sell, 1989 ), pp. 46–47.
10 Graham McMaster, Scott and Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Marcus Waithe, William Morris’s Utopia of Strangers: Victorian Medievalism and the Idea of Hospitality (Cambridge: D. S
liturgy too is thus made to be a key to the meaning and purpose of the cosmos.
The liturgy in France
J. K. Huysmans was deeply responsive to the liturgy in all its resonances. In L’Oblat , for example, which narrates the story of Durtal’s period as a lay associate of the monastery of Ligugé, Durtal falls into conversation one day with Dom Felletin and questions him closely about the different grades of feast days and the reasons for different texts. Durtal seeks to understand the logic and symbolism of the various
femme fatale and her innocent victims’ ( 1986 : 22). This Gothic imagining of femininity
anticipates the vilification of nature and idealisation of artificiality
in the decadent Gothic of the fin de siècle – in, for
example, J.-K. Huysmans’s À rebours (Against Nature)
( 1884 ) – as well as the sadistic
violence and Gothic symbolism of Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s,
Contes Cruels ( Cruel Tales
traditional connoisseur of rarities. He resembles a gleaner, finding value in what has been left behind, or a beachcomber seizing on a lucky find. Cornell preserved what others would discard. In contrast to the symbolist aesthete, such as J. K. Huysmans’ Des Esseintes, who surrounded himself with the unique and exotic and insulated himself from the vulgarity of a mass-produced culture, Cornell gathered the commonplace, celebrating mass-produced objects and processes of mechanical reproduction. Cornell’s biographer Deborah Solomon has pointed out that his montages of
Conflicting signifiers of vice in The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Mystery of Edwin Drood
. Hallward tells him that ‘Something has changed you completely’, and these are changes he notably blames on ‘[Wotton’s] influence’ (p. 88). Among Wotton’s bad influences is his presentation to Gray of a ‘yellow book’ (p. 100) with which the latter becomes ‘fascinated’ (p. 101). The book, deemed by some critics to be J.K. Huysmans’ novel À Rebours (1884), translated as Against Nature , ‘features the intriguing figure of Des Esseintes, whose experiments in hedonistic excess made him into the ultimate icon of fin-de-siècle Decadence’ (p. 182, n. 72). Gray strongly
and Jews, were wide and varying. There are of course some literary portrayals of the precise dilemmas of secularising legislation. Paul Bourget’s novel Le Divorce dramatises the harm caused by the secular dissolution of marriage. The anti-congregational laws are touched on in J. K. Huysmans’s novel L’Oblat , and are right at the heart of René Bazin’s L’Isolée , the story of a young nun, Pascale, pushed out into the world because of the closure of her convent, and who is seduced and finally murdered. 50
Among French and English Catholic
indeed, ‘the aspiring surrealist writer had only to follow where Lautréamont
had dared to pass’ (ibid., 149). According to the existential thinker Roger
Gilbert-Lecomte, a ‘new morality of perpetual negation emerges after the
“death of art” heralded by Rimbaud’ (Fotiade, 192). J.-K. Huysmans, in his À
Rebours (1884; translated as Against Nature) displays the mal du siècle
absurdity and decadence of the archetypal dandy, accompanied by a regime of
Breton’s idea of black humour may have been inspired by
as ‘the least “Irish” of [O’Brien’s] books’.
42 For ‘scientific’ readings of this novel see Charles Kemnitz, ‘Beyond the Zone of
Middle Dimensions: A Relativistic Reading of The Third Policeman’, Irish
University Review, 15:1 (1985), 56–72; and Mary A. O’Toole, ‘The Theory of
Serialism in The Third Policeman’, Irish University Review, 18:2 (1988),
43 Clissmann (352, n. 5) links de Selby with Des Esseintes, the protagonist of À
Rebours (1884) by J.-K. Huysmans (see also Hopper, 96–7; 127–8). De Selby’s
‘ideology’ is compared with the ideas of J.W. Dunne
, 1992 ).
Healey , Kimberley , ‘ French literary modernism ’, in Ástráður Eysteinsson and Vivian Liska (eds) , Modernism , vol. 1 ( Amsterdam : John Benjamins , 2007 ), pp. 801–17 .
Huysmans , Joris-Karl , ‘ Le Salon de 1897 ’, in J.-K. Huysmans , L’Art moderne ( Paris : P.-V. Stock , 1903 ), pp. 9–95 .
Joyeux-Prunel , Béatrice , Les Avant-gardes artistiques: une histoire transnationale, 1918–1945 ( Paris : Gallimard , 2017 ).
Latham , Sean , and Gayle Rogers , Modernism: Evolution of an Idea ( London : Bloomsbury Academic
Representing the limits of evil, Gilles de Rais was a source of
fascination in decadent art and literature (see Birkett, 1986 : 86–8) and famously provides the focus
of J.-K. Huysmans’s Là-bas (The Damned), published in
1891, a copy of which from ‘some over-exquisite private
press’ is displayed in the Marquis’s library
(‘BC’ 16). 9
‘The Bloody Chamber’ is thoroughly saturated with literary