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The Damned



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Author: Huysmans, Joris-Karl
ISBN: 9780140447675
Publisher: Penguin UK
Year First Published: 2001
Pages: 320
Dimensions: 200mm x 132mm x 20mm
Format: Paperback / softback

Huysmans’ gaudy, shocking and largely autobiographical novel La-Bas was described by one critic as ‘even more disquieting’ than his masterpiece, A Rebours (Against Nature.It follows Durtal, a shy, censorious man, who is writing a biography of Gilles de Rais, the fifteenth-century child murderer and supposed original for ‘Bluebeard’. Durtal is bored and disgusted by the vulgarity of everyday life and seeks spiritual solace by immersing himself in another age. But when he meets the exquisitely evil Madame Chantelouve, he is drawn into the twilight world of black magic and erotic devilry in fin-de-siecle Paris.Huysmans’ major novels have suffered censorship and condemnation; even his admirers thought him too preoccupied with the strange, exotic and unhealthy. Now he is recognised as one of the most challenging and innovative figures in European literature. La-Bas is, as Terry Hale says, ‘a novel awaiting both legitimacy and rediscovery in English’.