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Against the Grain

  À rebours (translated into English as Against the Grain or Against Nature) (1884) is a novel by the French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans. It is a novel in which very little happens; its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character, and is mostly a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero, who loathes 19th century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world of his own creation. À rebours contained many themes which became associated with the Symbolist aesthetic. In doing so, it broke from naturalism and became the ultimate example of "decadent" literature.Huysmans predicted his novel would be a failure with the public and critics: "It will be the biggest fiasco of the year - but I don't care a damn! It will be something nobody has ever done before, and I shall have said what I want to say..." However, when it appeared in May, 1884, the book created a storm of publicity; though many critics were scandalised, it appealed to a young generation of aesthetes and writers.(Description adapted from Wikipedia)

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