The enervated anti-hero, Durtal, is writing a book about Gilles de Rais, child-murderer and comrade in arms of Joan of Arc. When he's not studying alchemy, visiting Rais' ruined castle and fantasizing about a mystery woman, he is pondering Catholicism with his friends. His sexual adventures and historical studies mesh when he's invited to witness a black mass The follow-up to A Rebours, La Bas takes Huysmans' quest for the exotic and extreme sensations a stage further.
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Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans (February 5, 1848 – May 12, 1907) was a French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans. He is most famous for the novel À rebours (Against the Grain or Against Nature). His work is remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, extensive vocabulary, detailed and sensuous descriptions, and biting, satirical wit. It also displays an encyclopaedic erudition, ranging from the catalogue of decadent Latin authors in À rebours to the discussion of the iconography of Christian architecture in La cathédrale. Huysmans expresses a disgust with modern life and a deep pessimism, which led him first to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, then back to the Catholicism in which he had been raised.
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