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Joris-Karl Huysmans

Book Overview: 

The plot of Là-Bas concerns the novelist Durtal, who is disgusted by the emptiness and vulgarity of the modern world. He seeks relief by turning to the study of the Middle Ages and begins to research the life of the notorious 15th-century child-murderer Gilles de Rais. Through his contacts in Paris (notably Dr. Johannes, modeled after Joseph-Antoine Boullan), Durtal finds out that Satanism is not simply a thing of the past but alive in turn of the century France. He embarks on an investigation of the occult underworld with the help of his lover Madame Chantelouve. The novel culminates with a description of a black mass. (Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .et back to the subject which haunted him.

"Yes, and the documents are irrefutable. I'll put you into a position to prove them whenever you wish.

"At the end of the fifteenth century, that is to say at the time of Gilles de Rais—to go no further back—Satanism had assumed the proportions that you know. In the sixteenth it was worse yet. No need to remind you, I think, of the demoniac pactions of Catherine de Medici and of the Valois, of the trial of the monk Jean de Vaulx, of the investigations of the Sprengers and the Lancres and those learned inquisitors who had thousands of necromancers and sorcerers roasted alive. All that is known, too well known. One case is not too well known for me to cite here: that of the priest Benedictus who cohabited with the she-devil Armellina and consecrated the hosts holding them upside down. Here are the diabolical threads which bind that century to this. In the seventeenth century, in which the sorc. . . Read More

Community Reviews

La-bas (English Down There)--with its explicit account of child sex-murders and its detailed description of a black mass—may benefit from its transgressive reputation but also suffers from it too. Readers who come to it seeking thrills and horrors will be alternately bored and disappointed, while se

The best one can do is point to Dostoevsky . . . as providing the closest approximation to such an ideal. Yet even that amenable Russian is more an evangelical socialist than an enraptured realist. In France, now that the purely physical recipe has fallen into such discredit, two clans have emerged:

One of my favorite pastimes is pretending I worship Satan. Since being a non-religious sort is basically the same thing to an awful lot of (at least, the Oklahoman variety) Christians, I may as well go full fanfare. Well, since my views are so easily cast aside via the very scripture I oppose - You

I'm not going to be able to do this book justice. It's one of those reads where you want to mark the book up with underlines because of all the great quotes and all the passages that are so relevant to today.
The book is a great read, very different. It covers so much philosophical, h

Down There (Là-Bas)

To begin with, you meet Durtal, inconsistent seeker of truths about Gilles de Rais, an infamous child murderer during the 15th century.

Soon, Durtal becomes familiar with the Carhaix couple, both Catholics, the husband a Breton bellringer, happy with living as a recluse in his aeri

Ένα ταξίδι στη σκοτεινή πλευρά της ψυχής, του μυαλού και του σώματος που σίγουρα δεν απευθύνεται σε όλους.

Είναι ένα περίεργο,δυνατό και σημαντικό λογοτεχνικό έργο που στοιχειοθετείται απο σπουδαίες και σοκαριστικές περιγραφές και πλάνες,απο ιστορικά γεγονότα και δοξασίες,στολισμένο με υπερρεαλισμό,

Ο Ντιρτάλ είναι ένας σαραντάχρονος συγγραφέας ο οποίος θέλει να γράψει ένα βιβλίο, του οποίου η θεματολογία και το ύφος θα κινείται μέσα στα λογοτεχνικά πλαίσια του νατουραλισμού... Τελικά διαλέγει σαν θέμα την ζωή ενός Στρατάρχη της Ζαν Ντ' Αρκ, του Ζιλ Ντε Ρε, ο οποίος μετά το τέλος του πολέμου κλ

Every phenomenon begets its opposite. God had begotten devil. Good had begotten evil and they coexist so Gilles de Rais goes hand in hand with Joan of Arc. And virtues bring forth sins.
You believe pretty thoroughly in these things, or you wouldn't abandon the eternal triangle and the other stock sub

“Really, when I think it over, literature has only one excuse for existing; it saves the person who makes it from the disgustingness of life.”
― Joris-Karl Huysmans, Là-Bas

Barbey d'Aurevilly compared Joris-Karl Huysmans to Baudelaire, recalling: "After Les Fleurs du mal I told Baudelaire it only rema

Perhaps if I hadn’t read some essays on fin de siècle decadent French literature last year I would have been more shocked by some of the grosser parts of this book. But forewarned is forearmed , and a large part of this book is about the occult so I wasn’t expecting it to be an easy read.

I found th

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