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With the Flow

By Joris-Karl Huysmans

Translated by Andrew Brown

ISBN: 9781847498342

128 pages

RRP: £5.99

The lowly, downtrodden Paris civil servant Jean Folantin seeks respite from the boredom and isolation of his life in the small joys of food and the occasional embraces of a prostitute. But whatever he does, wherever he turns to in his quest for some pleasure, his dissatisfaction only increases, until he is forced to realize that he has to abandon all hope and just “go with the flow”.

This 1882 novella, a key work in Huysmans’ literary development – prefiguring in its protagonist the figure of Jean des Esseintes, the hero of À rebours, written two years later – is accompanied here by another masterly study of human despair, ‘M. Bougran’s Retirement’.

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Joris-Karl Huysmans

Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848–1907) was a central figure of the French decadent movement at the end of the nineteenth century. Today he is best remembered for the novel À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain), which had a huge influence on contemporary writers, including Oscar Wilde, as well as on subsequent generations of novelists.

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