His father Godfried Huysmans was Dutch, and a lithographer by trade. His mother Malvina Badin Huysmans had been a schoolmistress. After his mother quickly remarried, Huysmans resented his stepfather, Jules Og, a Protestant who was part-owner of a Parisian book-bindery. During childhood, Huysmans turned away from the Roman Catholic Church. The young Huysmans was called up to fight in the Franco-Prussian War , but was invalided out with dysentery.
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His father Godfried Huysmans was Dutch, and a lithographer by trade. His mother Malvina Badin Huysmans had been a schoolmistress. After his mother quickly remarried, Huysmans resented his stepfather, Jules Og, a Protestant who was part-owner of a Parisian book-bindery.
During childhood, Huysmans turned away from the Roman Catholic Church. The young Huysmans was called up to fight in the Franco-Prussian War , but was invalided out with dysentery. He intended to set up a community of Catholic artists, including Charles-Marie Dulac In Huysmans was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth. Personal life[ edit ] Huysmans never married or had children. He had a long-term, on-and-off relationship with Anna Meunier, a seamstress. His next works were similar: sombre, realistic and filled with detailed evocations of Paris, a city Huysmans knew intimately.
Les Soeurs Vatard , dedicated to Zola, deals with the lives of women in a bookbindery. It featured the character of an aesthete , des Esseintes, and decisively broke from Naturalism. It was seen as an example of " decadent " literature.
The prosecutor referred to it as a " sodomitical " book. The book appalled Zola, who felt it had dealt a "terrible blow" to Naturalism. The commercial success of this book enabled Huysmans to retire from the civil service and live on his royalties.
Huysmans expresses a disgust with modern life and a deep pessimism. This had led him first to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. Later he returned to the Catholic Church, as noted in his Durtal novels. The specific problem is: "Section is mainly a list of quotations with no unifying formatting, making the sources unclear for some of the material.
Please help improve this section if you can. I never make, like Zola, a plan for a book. Continually dragging Mother Image by the hair or the feet down the worm-eaten staircase of terrified Syntax. Huysmans "It is difficult to find a writer whose vocabulary is so extensive, so constantly surprising, so sharp and yet so exquisitely gamey in flavour, so constantly lucky in its chance finds and in its very inventiveness. Besides special instruments for re-creating any conceivable odour, he has constructed a special "mouth organ", designed to stimulate his palate rather than his ears.
Then to complete the orchestra, comes kirsch , blowing a wild trumpet blast; gin and whisky , deafening the palate with their harsh outbursts of cornets and trombones :liqueur brandy , blaring with the overwhelming crash of the tubas.
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, near Fontenay , and decides to spend the rest of his life in intellectual and aesthetic contemplation. Throughout his intellectual experiments, Des Esseintes recalls various debauched events and love affairs of his past in Paris. He tries his hand at inventing perfumes and he creates a garden of poisonous tropical flowers. Illustrating his preference for artifice over nature a characteristic Decadent theme , Des Esseintes chooses real flowers that apparently imitate artificial ones. In another episode, he decides to visit London after reading the novels of Charles Dickens. He dines at an English restaurant in Paris while waiting for his train and is delighted by the resemblance of the people to his notions derived from literature.