Buy Used
£4.20
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Against Nature Paperback – 21 Feb 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 21 Feb 2011
£4.20

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
click to open popover

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (21 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460904621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1460904626
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,251,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

About the Author

Nicholas White is Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway College, University of London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Jacobs VINE VOICE on 25 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting novel; not only in terms of its content, but in terms of its function as a touchstone of decadent 1890s English literature. Indeed, it's rumored to be the novel which corrupts Dorian Gray in the Wilde novel of 1891.

A novel with only one main character sounds a bit strange. And it is. But rather than the focus being on linear plot, action or conventional emotions, the reader of this book - whilst carrying out their own solitary activity of reading - seems to form a symbiotic relationship with the book's protagonist, Des Esseintes. Reading about the things that this French loner does purely out of boredom is fascinating; indeed, the very act of reading about his mad experiments and activities gives the reader as great a hedonistic pleasure as it gives Des Esseintes himself by doing these things.

Whilst most people today associate money with being able to have a nice house, eat well, drive nice cars etc, this fictional account of a bored, rich man sees a much more fascinating way to toy with boredom and money. The translation is great, capturing Huysmans' tone and sentiment perfectly.

Reading this book will change your life.
2 Comments 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
For those looking for a great tale of adventure,intrigue or any other discernible genre stay away.

This book has a very very brief plot but that is the beauty of it. You get lost in the descriptions. The author paints a picture in your mind. It's easily one of the most enchanting books I've read.

I was truly absorbed in it, and upon finishing it realized that story was less interesting than anyone's life yet the descriptions will mesmerize and hold you to the end. Its almost a sensory overload.

Might be of interest to some others - this is presumably the ' yellow book ' that corrupts the main character in the picture of Dorian Gray

Highly recommended.
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Huysmans seems to have written a novel of simple plot, vain sympathies and marvellous aesthetics; however, this novel does a lot more than convey the coloured life of a certain bigotted intellect. One could perhaps even consider this book to act as prolepsis for twenty-first century novels such as Sartre's first published work, "Nausea", as its candid portrayal of a solitary life, and its effects on Des Essientes immediately promted recollections of the wandering mind of Roquentin as he strolled down the sea front in Bouville. Also, the tragedy of Des Essientes final prescription is one which leaves the reader in a deeply and profoundly melancholic state, as Des Essientes is served a treatment which, to him, is perhaps worse than death. As a social commentary it depicts a society finally surrendering to "human mediocrity" and a conformity and materialism that we know all too well today.

Calling this novel an aesthetical novel is essentially naive. This novel is so much more: a harrowing portrayal of the death of a kind of life. One man's battle with the world he lives in, grasping at the heels of the pleasures he loves in the vain hope that they'll stay. Not a perfect novel, but essential reading for any one who has read the likes of Wilde, Zola, Baudelaire, Sartre, or anyone at all concerned with France in the 19th century.
2 Comments 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Huysmans' fantastic novel has been influential on writers when it first came out and up to the present day, after all you can obviously see the beginnings of such novels as 'Perfume' amongst its pages. The only main character, Des Esseintes has lived a life that mirrors Dorian Gray, and Dorian indeed reads this book in The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics). You do get glimpses in this novel of Des Esseintes' hedonistic lifestyle before he seeks 'rest'. Told by his doctors that his lifestyle will kill him, Des Esseintes retires into seclusion and loneliness. However even here his life is full of eccentricity and dissipation.

Des Esseintes changes one lifestyle for another and contemplates upon a series of subjects in his new home that he has bizarrely furnished and fitted out. A weird and captivating tale this book is now a cult classic and has held people enthralled since its first publication, indeed it is difficult to put it down, and remains in the mind long after. As I wrote in my review for The Damned (Penguin Classics), Huysmans can write about literally anything and hold you in captivation, truly he was one of the worlds greatest writers. In this book mention is made of Barbey D'Aurevilly, and the bookLes Diaboliques: She Devils (Empire of the Senses). This is a book of short stories and is well worth a read.

Along with the story and an introduction you also get here Huysmans' preface written 20 years later, and also reviews and responses to the novel from such luminaries as Oscar Wilde, Emile Zola and Barbey D'Aurevilly, amognst others.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
To understand and appreciate this book, which by its very nature seems to reject the reader, or perhaps to withdraw from the reader any semblance of the forms of contact and intimacy that are the usual business of one person writing and another person reading the words, is to accept that the process by which we come together in this case is ultimately bizarre. Huysmans rejected the naturalism of his compatriot Emile Zola and turned it on its head. Rather than drawing from human nature and seeking to understand humanity, Huysmans found his oeuvre with the paintings of Gustav Moreau and he was linked to the heady extremes of symbolist poetry by the likes of Mallarme and Moreas.

Against Nature displays a profound disgust for women as well as an effete sensibility that rejected `normality' and convention. Huysman's erudite encapsulations of Classical history and literature are marked by a strong sense of the privileged position he was able, by means of his wealth, to attain. This seam of extremism played itself out via the Symbolist movement and it (arguably) reached its peak in the poetry of Maeterlinck and in the art of (among others) Arnold Bocklin and Ferdinand Hodler. As such it is one of the strangest movements in the Modernist era, linking figures as various as Baudelaire and Edward Burne-Jones. The styles of the Symbolist painters varied considerably, but they shared many of the same themes particularly a fascination with the mystical and the visionary. The erotic, the perverse, death and debauchery were of particular interest for the Symbolists.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Look for similar items by category