“On the contrary” Huysmans in brief summary

“On the contrary” Huysmans in brief summary

The protagonist of the novel is the aristocrat des Essent, who is disgusted with the world around him, who lives alone in a country house and surrenders to refined and perverted pleasures.


In the castle Lurp preserved several portraits of representatives of the family Floresac des Esentes. These were portraits of mighty, harsh raytars and warriors. From the portraits of the following representatives of the family, only the image of a “crafty and mysterious person, with a deceitful face, a slightly outstretched face, slightly bruised cheekbones, pimpled, pearled hair, a long white neck in tight collar assemblies, was preserved.” The degeneration of the family continued. As though completing the work of the time, the descent of Essenta for two centuries concluded marital unions within the family. In related marriages, the remainder of former power was lost.

From the family, once numerous, occupying almost the whole of the Île-de-France, there was now a single offspring, “Duke Jean, a frail young man of thirty, anemic and nervous, with cold pale blue eyes, hollow cheeks, right, but some kind of loose nose and hands dry and lifeless. For some strange law of atavism, the last representative of the clan was like an ancient ancestor, handsome, from whom he inherited an unusually light beard with a wedge and an ambiguous look-tired and cunning. “

Jean’s childhood was grim and passed in constant illnesses. The

young Des Esentes studied with the Jesuits. The monks did not particularly piss on the boy, so his teaching was of a somewhat superficial nature: he “jokingly learned Latin, but he could not connect in Greek words, he did not show abilities for modern languages, and in the exact sciences he proved to be the uttermost stupid lived quite happily, barely noticing the tutelage of his mentors, he was engaged in Latin and French for his own pleasure, and although theology was not part of the school curriculum, he fully improved in it, starting to study it in the Lurp castle from books that had been translated to mu cousin of his great-grandfather Don Prosper, the abbot of the abbey of Saint-Ryuf “.

On his return from the boarding school, he did not get along with his peers, and more and more often thought of seclusion. He could be saved by love, but women were stupid and boring. He went into full swing, but could not stand his health and the doctors urged him to stop. After counting the remaining money, Des Esent was horrified: they were almost gone. “And he decided: he sold the castle Lurp, in which he had not been and about which he did not save any merry or sad memories, sold the rest of the property with his hands and bought state rent, thus ensured an annual income of 50,000 livres, postponed a decent amount for the purchase and arrangement of his final haven. He traveled the metropolitan suburbs and in one of them, called Fontenay-o-Rose, on the outskirts of the forest, discovered a house. The dream came true: in a suburb, overrun by Parisians,

Chapter 1

After 2 months, Des Esent was able to seclude himself in silence and the grace of the Fontenay House and began to arrange it. He carefully thought out the colors that he wanted to see and furnished the living room and study. “And Des Esent invented to tighten the walls of the cabinet like a book, morocco, coarse grained Moroccan leather, which came out from under the thick steel plates of a powerful press. After he was finished with the walls, he ordered to paint the skirtings lacquered indigo – dark blue paint, what carriages are covered by the panels of crews, and with morocco pass along the edge of the ceiling and tighten it so that it resembles an open dormer window, sky-blue, woven silvery angels, silk. This fabric was at one time made by Cologne weaving rischestvom and was intended for church robes. “

Chapter 2

It tells how Des Esent taught his servants to serve him unnoticed, so that they can not be seen at all, and also taught them to his regime: “Once and for all he appointed a meal time, the dishes, however, were modest and unpretentious At five o’clock in the evening, in the winter at dusk, he had breakfast: he ate two eggs soft, roasted and drank a cup of tea, at eleven o’clock in the evening, ate coffee, and at night drank coffee, and sometimes wine or tea Dess Eszent dined easily, or rather, at five in the morning, lt; / RTI & gt; For days on end, Des Essent indulged in dreams. He looked out the window, saw people passing by, noticed the stamp of stupidity on their faces. He also believed that it is not necessary to travel, it is enough to imagine a journey.

Chapter 3

Description of the library des Esent. Only those writers who, in the opinion of Des Essent, wrote about something decadent, decaying, were represented in it. His opinion of the Latin-speaking writers was rather low: “gentle Virgil seemed to him a terrible, unbearable pedant, the first bore of antiquity.” I must say that, not particularly honoring Virgil and disliking the clear and abundant Ovid, he hated Horace with his heartlessly and with all heat with elephant grace, puppy yapping and clownish grimaces. As for prose, the abundance of verbs, flowery syllables, the intricate phrases of Gorokh-Vo-Rtu des Essent did not too much, but Caesar, with his boastful laconism, liked him no more than C, because in this extreme of another kind were the dryness of the reference book, stinginess, inadmissible and inappropriate. “Sallust, though still not as dull as the others, Titus Livy is too sensitive and tall, Seneca is pretentious and colorless, Suetonius is languid and unripe. Tacitus, in his deliberate tightness, is the most nervous, harsh, most muscular of all. And as for poetry, he was never touched by Juvenal, although he was thoroughly shaken by rhyme, not Persius, although he surrounded himself with mystery. He did not appreciate either Tybull with Proverts, Quintilian, neither Plinyev, nor the Station, nor the Martial of Bilibil, nor Terence, nor even Plautus. “Only Valeria, Apuleius, Commodián de Gasa valued the descent of Essent. himself works up to the tenth century. the most muscular of all. And as for poetry, he was never touched by Juvenal, although he was thoroughly shaken by rhyme, not Persius, although he surrounded himself with mystery. He did not appreciate either Tybull with Proverts, Quintilian, neither Plinyev, nor the Station, nor the Martial of Bilibil, nor Terence, nor even Plautus. “Only Valeria, Apuleius, Commodián de Gasa valued the descent of Essent. himself works up to the tenth century. the most muscular of all. And as for poetry, he was never touched by Juvenal, although he was thoroughly shaken by rhyme, not Persius, although he surrounded himself with mystery. He did not appreciate either Tybull with Proverts, Quintilian, neither Plinyev, nor the Station, nor the Martial of Bilibil, nor Terence, nor even Plautus. “Only Valeria, Apuleius, Commodián de Gasa valued the descent of Essent. himself works up to the tenth century.

Chapter 4

One evening the crew stopped at the house: it was brought by a turtle. Des Essent decided that his carpets would look better if they were crawled with a tortoise, the shell of which is encrusted with gold and precious stones. Jean himself found the drawing and chose the stones. However, it turned out that this venture was not very clever – the tortoise died the same evening.

Des Essent reflected that all tastes can be compared to musical instruments. He even had an “organ”, in fact representing a multitude of bottles of wine with taps. The owner could use it to “compose” cocktails. But today he did not want to write. The taste of Irish whiskey reminded him of a story about how he once had a toothache and went to the dentist. I remembered the wild pain that he experienced when he was torn out of his tooth.

Chapter 5

The whole chapter is devoted to the picturesque canvases belonging to des Essent. This “Salome” by Gustave Moreau, where the heroine is a living embodiment of temptation and crime, “Revelation” on the same subject, only in the center is the already frozen look of the dead head of the Forerunner aimed at the stunned Salome.

In the living room, Des Essent hung a series of engravings of Luiken’s “Persecution for Faith”, in the hallway – Braden’s engraving “The Comedy of Death” and “The Good Samaritan”, as well as the paintings of Odilon Redon.

Chapter 6

It is dedicated to memories. The first is the case when a friend of Des-Essent D’Aguirand decided to marry. All of it was dissuaded, in contrast to Des Essent, who encouraged this act, secretly expecting the spouses to leave. And it happened. The second recollection was Auguste Langlois. Des Essent met him on the street and brought him to a brothel. There he paid the owner a large sum and said that the boy can come here 2 times a week. When the money runs out, Auguste, according to the calculations of des Essent, will go to steal to get money to pay for comfort, and then kill someone. Des Essent cherished the dream of creating a killer in this way. But this either did not happen, or Des Esent did not even know about it.

Chapter 7

Des Essent abandoned reading and increasingly began to sink into the past. Waking up briefly, he tried to head off into Latin, but again a flood of memories, this time children’s. Des Essent remembered the Jesuits, he was drawn to faith. “However, he knew himself well and was confident that he was not capable of truly Christian humility or repentance.” Yet the Jesuits managed to inculcate Des Essent’s love of the divine. Through loneliness, she began to wake up in his soul. He began to resist, and in this he helped the philosophy of Schopperhauer. Des Essent calmed down.

Chapter 8

Des Esent decided to buy flowers to decorate the house. He began to look for live flowers, imitating artificial ones. When the plants were brought, Des Essent so inhaled their fragrances that he had a nightmare about a carnivorous flower-woman and horseman of Syphilis.

Chapter 9

Reasoning about the painters. Reading Dickens and memories of his mistresses. A detailed story about one of the first, circus Urania. Des Essent wanted her, because he imagined that she had many male habits. So he satisfied his attraction to the coarse male power. Then he slept with the ventriloquist, forcing her to speak with the voice of a man who allegedly found them and threatened with reprisals. The last he remembered a young man with whom he also had a connection.

Chapter 10

The neurosis has become aggravated. There were hallucinations in Des Esentes. He could smell the frigipan everywhere. To get rid of it, Des Essent mixed several flavors, creating perfume compositions. However, from the abundance of smells, his head aches and he fainted.

Chapter 11

Servants, frightened, ran after the Fontenay doctor. But what ailment Dez Essent, he never understood. He muttered some medical terms, felt his pulse and saw the language, the doctor tried to give him the gift of speech, but, having achieved nothing, prescribed a soothing and full rest and said that he would visit him tomorrow. But Dez Essent shook his head, making the last effort to show that he did not approve of the zeal of the servants and was driving the stranger out. Des Essent decided to go to London, packed his bags and went to “Galignani’s Messenger” to buy a guide. Having bought it, Des Esente dined in the wine cellar “Bodega”, looking at visitors and imagining England. In the end, he decided that it was time to go home.

Chapter 12

Looking through his books, Dez Essent recalled where he ordered another copy, in which printing house he was printing, what cover, paper, font he chose and why. Reasoning about Baudelaire, Villon, Agrippa d’Aubigne. “With the exception of these few books, the French literature in the library of des Essent began in the 19th century, divided into two parts: first, secular literature, and the second, church literature.” These are authors such as Lacorder, Comte de Fallou, Veio, and others.

Chapter 13

It was getting hotter. The state of Des Essent was getting worse. He could not bear the heat, he could not eat, he was constantly sick. Once during a rest in the park, Des Esent watched the fight of the village boys. Seeing at one of them a sandwich with white homemade cheese and onions, des Essent monstrously wanted to eat. He ordered his servants to make him the same sandwich, but while they went to the village for groceries, Des Esent again felt ill. Returning to the house, he saw an astrolabe, which he used instead of a paperweight, and, remembering Paris, began to talk about morality, protection and abortion.

Chapter 14

Again, arguments about writers and literature. Favorite writers of Des Essent are Flaubert, the brothers Goncourt, Zola, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Corbière, Annon and Mallarme. Des Essent comes to the conclusion that the ideal novel is “a novel in several phrases – a press of hundreds of pages with their depiction of the environment, characters, pictures of manners and a sketch of the smallest facts. This will be words so carefully selected and capacious that they will fill the absence of all the others The adjective will become so transparent and precise that it will closely grow to the noun and open the reader an immense perspective, it will allow you to dream and wonder for weeks about its meaning – both narrow and wide, and reveal the soul of the characters as a whole: Oyaschem, restore in the past, foresee in the future. And all this is due to a single definition.

Chapter 15

However, after a while the broth ceases to help. Exeent deceased by the auditory hallucinations calls the doctor. In anticipation of his visit, he is then angry, then suffers the fear of death. The doctor who arrived at last strongly recommends eating well. However, nausea does not allow this. And then the doctor offers an enema, from which Des Esent is delighted. “His thirst for artificiality was now, even beyond his will, completely satisfied.” Artificial nutrition is the limit of artificiality! “. After this, the doctor insisted on changing his place of residence and returning to a “normal” life in Paris.

Chapter 16

Des Esent collected his things. He did not want to leave the house and he distracted himself with thoughts about the discord in the church about the wine that is diluted, and the bread that is baked not from wheat, but from starch. The novel ends with a passionate entreaty to the Lord for patronage.

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“On the contrary” Huysmans in brief summary