Against Nature (À Rebours) Against Nature discussion

Huysmans and Aesthetics

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Glenn Russell Aesthetics and Against Nature --- if anybody has any comments or questions they would like to discuss, please post. Thanks!

Matthew Bargas How about the narrators attraction to the female acrobat who was described as somewhat muscular?

Glenn Russell That is one of the great sections of the book. To visualize the effete Des Esseintes tangling with a femaile acrobat in his bed amongst all the flowers and perfumes is hysterical. Too much!

Matthew Bargas There's a considerable variability in what is considered attractive in females. Back in the roaring 20's small breasts were in vogue, as Jordan Baker was described in the Great Gatsby. Now everyone wants breast implants, yet one still sees some of the the old aesthetic in activities like ballet, gymnastics, figure skating, and anything requiring a svelte and graceful appearance. A female acrobat would be more like a gymnast, more muscular than the average female, but not grotesque like a female bodybuilder.

message 5: by Glenn (last edited May 27, 2014 01:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Glenn Russell Very true, Matthew. Personally, I find women attractive in many sizes and shapes with the exception of female bodybuilders.

Anyway, here is a quote from Chapter 2 that I haven't seen quoted that much. What is happening here is so outrageous. Can you imagine an aesthete preaching about dandyism to a room full of tailors, carpenters, masons and shoemakers. Can you imagine what they said to one another at the local bar after a sermon!

"He had constructed, too, a lofty high room intended for the reception of his tradesmen. Here they were ushered in and seated alongside each other in church pews, while from a pulpit he preached to them a sermon on dandyism, adjuring his bootmakers and tailors implicitly to obey his briefs in the matter of style, threatening them with pecuniary excommunication if they failed to follow to the letter the instructions contained in his monitories and bulls."

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