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This is the second of three semi-autobiographical novels written by Huysmans at the end of the 19th century, charting the progress of Durtal, a tormented and solitary figure, as he moves from a life of debauched decadence to a peaceful communion with God. The catalyst for Durtal's tortured journey is his obsession with art, architecture and music, all of which are to be found in the great French Gothic churches in which he whiles away his hours, submerging himself in a heady mix of chants, incense and mysticism. Initially, however, these are not enough to enable him to resist the temptations of food, wine and women that haunt him continually, and he seeks the friendship and counsel of a priest with whom he can share the conflict between his earthly desires and his religious ambitions. This 'clever spiritual watchmaker' works on Durtal slowly and patiently, finally persuading him to retreat to a Trappist monastery from where, after ten days of physical deprivation and contemplation, he emerges morally and spiritually cleansed. While Durtal's journey is tortuous both for him and the reader, with its heavy air of introspection and gothic imagery not helped by a somewhat wooden translation, it nevertheless provides an interesting insight into and discussion of the impact of organized religion on the individual. Equally interesting as a comment on the moral and religious climate prevailing at the time is the way in which the novel was received when first published. Incredibly for the modern reader it was condemned for obscenity; perhaps more understandably, it incurred the wrath of the Catholic Church for describing its clergy as ignorant and lacking in education and therefore only able to cater for bigots and pretenders. (Kirkus UK)
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PRODUKTDETAILS

Erscheinungsdatum
15.03.2002
Ausgabe
Paperback
ISBN
9781873982143
Sprache
English
Seiten
320
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