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Egoists, A Book of Supermen

James Huneker

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .aysages étaient comme un archet qui jouait sur mon âme"? He meant his nerves, not his soul. Spiritual overtones are not sounded in his work. A materialist (a singularly unhappy home and maladroit education are to blame for much of his errors in after life), he was, at least, no hypocrite. He loved beautiful art, women, landscapes, brave feats. He confesses, in a letter to Colomb, dated November 25, 1817, to planning a History of Energy in Italy (both Taine and Barrès later transposed the theme to France with varying results). A tissue of contradictions, he somehow or other emerges from the mists and artistic embroilments of the earlier half of the last century a robust, soldierly, yet curious, subtle and enigmatic figure. It is best to employ in describing him his own favourite definition—he was "different." And has he not said that difference engenders hatred?


In his brilliant and much-abused book, A Rebours, the late J.-K. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A fun, insightful example of the old belle-lettrist criticism from a pre-1914 world. History, sociology, and psychological anecdotes are expertly assembled by Huneker about Flaubert, Huysmans, Anatole France and their cohort.

Very insightful read. The style is brilliant, truly reflecting the author/composer's sense of rhythm and melody. I liked the fact that the more-than-eminent figures dealt with in this book are criticised and lauded in what seems a just and impartial manner. Of course, Huneker makes his Christian bel