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the so-called literary world

“To me the striking thing about the so-called literary world of this epoch is its cheap hypocrisy. What a lot of laziness, for instance, that word dilettante has served to cover.”

— Joris-Karl Huysmans, La-bas

Literature

the mystery of mad letters

“And his sensual resurrection was incredible—an aberrated Dog Star flaming in a physical November, at a spiritual All Hallows. Tranquil, dried up, safe from crises, without veritable desires, almost impotent, or rather completely forgetful of sex for months at a time, he was suddenly roused—and for an unreality!—by the mystery of mad letters.”

— Joris-Karl Huysmans, La-bas

Literature

hatred of the mediocre

“Since it is difficult to be a saint,” said Des Hermies, “there is nothing for it but to be a Satanist. One of the two extremes. 21 more words

Literature

but one step

“Now from lofty Mysticism to base Satanism there is but one step. In the Beyond all things touch.”

— Joris-Karl Huysmans, La-bas

Literature

lukewarm and mucilaginous novels

“The men can’t spare from gambling the time to read, so it is only the society women who buy books and pass judgment on them. It is to The Lady, as Schopenhauer called her, to the little goose, as I should characterize her, that we are indebted for these shoals of lukewarm and mucilaginous novels which nowadays get puffed.”

— Joris-Karl Huysmans, La-bas

Literature

sheltered from the asses

“But our impenitent pride—and also our need of the miserable sous—make it impossible for us to keep our manuscripts sheltered from the asses. Art ought to be—like one’s beloved—out of reach, out of the world. 14 more words

Literature

disenchantment is inevitable

“This will turn out badly, of course,” he decided. “Once I am satisfied, disenchantment is inevitable. Oh, well, so much the better, for with this romance going on I cannot work.”

— Joris-Karl Huysmans, La-bas

Literature