Tainted delicacies


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Tainted delicacies

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Redigerat: aug 10, 2007, 7:07pm

It is hard for me to select favorite or first read French (or Russian, German, etc.) novels or poems. Hugo is great, Stendhal, Proust... I would be at a loss to say who I read first - probably Jules Verne or the guy who wrote Le Passe-Muraille. These days I find myself drawn to certain books and authors as flies are drawn to truffles. Among these:

Victor Segalen whose Rene Leys would appeal to readers of Kafka and Pierre Louys: a young European who craves and obtains to the secret niches of vice and power in the Chinese empire (Segalen was supposedly found dead, of unknown causes, in a forest with an open copy of Hamlet by his side).

Joris Huysmans: Against the Grain, in which an ennervated scion of a faded aristocracy withdraws into a sort of solipsistic sensuality and attempts to reorder the world to the specifications of his taste. Huysmans went from darkling aesthete excavating the foul grounds of Tiffauges to piously haunting the bowels of cathedrals.

François Augiéras: The Sorcerer's Apprentice: The blossoming of an adolescent boy entrusted by his parents to the care of an idiosyncratic rural priest. Exactly. And then some. I was reminded of the mythic sensual violence in Pasolini and of the more tainted ramblings of occultist tracts in this small novel of cult initiation (would you really call it a "coming of age story"? If so, I set an altar before the womb which bore you). Brief, disturbing -it is both pornography of the lowest order and a mystical hymn to that infinte scene of erotic devoration: Nature.