Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans (French: [ʃaʁl maʁi ʒɔʁʒ ɥismɑ̃s]; February 5, 1848 – May 12, 1907) was a French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans ([ʒoʁis kaʁl]). He is most famous for the novel À rebours (published in English as Against the Grain or Against Nature). He supported himself by a 30-year career in the French civil service.
Huysmans' work is considered remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, large vocabulary, descriptions, satirical wit and far-ranging erudition. First considered part of Naturalism in literature, he became associated with the decadent movement with his publication of À rebours. His work expressed his deep pessimism, which had led him to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. In later years, his novels reflected his study of Catholicism, religious conversion, and becoming an oblate. He discussed the iconography of Christian architecture at length in La cathédrale (1898), set at Chartres and with its cathedral as the focus of the book.
Là-bas (1891), En route (1895) and La cathédrale (1898) are a trilogy that feature Durtal, an autobiographical character whose spiritual progress is tracked and who converts to Catholicism. In the novel that follows, L'Oblat (1903), Durtal becomes an Oblate in a monastery, as Huysmans himself was in the Benedictine Abbey at Ligugé, near Poitiers, in 1901. La cathédrale was his most commercially successful work. Its profits enabled Huysmans to retire from his civil service job and live on his royalties. [more][Less]
Kathleen Norris (born in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 1947) is a best-selling poet and essayist. Her parents, John Norris and Lois Totten, took her as a child to Hawaii, where she graduated from Punahou Preparatory School in 1965. After graduating from Bennington College in Vermont in 1969, Norris became arts administrator of the Academy of American Poets, and published her first book of poetry two years later. In 1974 she inherited her grandparents' farm in Lemmon, South Dakota, moved there with her husband, David Dwyer, joined Spencer Memorial Presbyterian church, and discovered the spirituality of the Great Plains. She entered a new, non-fictional phase in her literary career after becoming a Benedictine oblate at Assumption Abbey Richardton ND in 1986, and spending extended periods at Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. Since the death of her husband in 2003, Norris has transferred her place of residence to Hawaii, though continuing to do lecture tours on the mainland. [more][Less]
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