Against Nature (unabridged)

Audio Sample

Joris-Karl Huysmans

Against Nature

Read by Leighton Pugh


Published in 1884, Against Nature (À rebours) concerns the attempts of its cultured and neurotic anti-hero, Des Esseintes, to escape contemporary Parisian life. At his rural retreat he is able to indulge his particular artistic tastes as he muses on a range of topics including literature, religion and painting.

Although regarded as shocking on its publication, Against Nature was received with enthusiasm by the aesthetic movement and, most particularly, Oscar Wilde, who featured the book in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Against Nature marks a departure from the classic form of 19th-century literature, and this audiobook features the full text, with previously expurgated parts restored.

  • Running Time: 7 h 45 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-432-1
    Cat. no.:NA0567
    Produced by:Produced by Chris Barstow for Tall Story Audiobooks at The Perfumery
    Translated by:John Howard (updated)
    Released:February 23
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Huysmans’s nineteenth-century study of an aesthete who is trying to transcend dull normalcy and titillate his intellect and senses sounds at times like a series of essays. Despite the lack of incident, Leighton Pugh narrates at a heightened level of feeling, though the clarity of his tone and British accent, the precision of his delivery, and his sensitivity to the text keep the performance from becoming wearisome. No matter how dry its material, the book, pitched at an elevated level of nervous excitation, and its high-strung protagonist justify – even demand – this sustained intensity. Pugh manages to ensure that such topics as Latin literature are given more drama than print readers would likely find on their own. His delivery of this difficult text may keep listeners involved – even entertained.

W.M., AudioFile

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