En rade

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En rade (English: Becalmed, A Haven or Stranded) is a novel by the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans. It first appeared as a serial in the magazine Revue Indépendante between November 1886 and April 1887. It was published in book form on 26 April 1887 by Tresse et Stock. En rade followed Huysmans' most famous novel, A rebours, and was a commercial failure since neither critics nor the public could understand its mixture of brutal realism and fantasy. Later on, the Surrealists were more appreciative and André Breton included extracts from the novel in his Anthology of Black Humour.

Plot[edit]

Very little happens in this avowedly anti-Romantic work. Jacques Marles seeks refuge from his Parisian creditors with his wife Louise in a dilapidated château in the village of Lourps. Far from finding contentment in an idyllic summer landscape, the couple discover the countryside is grotesque and diseased. The local peasants are greedy, cunning and obsessed with money. The novel documents the petty irritations and disappointments of the Marleses' day-to-day existence. Interspersed with these realistic descriptions are three dream sequences, recounting Jacques' fantasies in a highly Decadent style influenced by Baudelaire's Les paradis artificiels and (possibly) the poems of Lautréamont.

Translations[edit]

  • Translated as Becalmed by Terry Hale (Atlas Press, 1993)
  • Translated as A Haven in The Decadent Reader, edited by Asti Hustvedt (Zone Press, 1999)
  • Translated as Stranded by Brendan King (Dedalus European Classics, 2010)

Sources[edit]

  • Huysmans Romans Volume One (Bouquins, Robert Laffont, 2005)
  • Robert Baldick: The Life of J.-K. Huysmans (originally published by Oxford University Press, 1955; revised by Brendan King, Dedalus Press, 2006)

External links[edit]