En route (1920) Novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans.PDF book

En route (1920) Novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans translated by Kegan  Paul
En route (190) Novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans



Excerpt from the translator's note:

It is seldom fair to an author, nor does it raise the value of literature to imagine too readily that a writer is himself depicted in his works. We rob Sir Walter Scott of much of his creative power if we assert that in Redgauntlet are exact portraits of himself and his father, nor is it just criticism to declare that Shakespeare left a likeness of himself in Hamlet. 

No one can of course create any fictitious character unless he has in himself undeveloped possibilities, some of which he sketches in his books, and, at times, he may have prophesied his own future course in the events under which he has brought the characters in his narrative. It would be intrusive and impertinent to declare that M. Huysmahs has written an analysis of himself or a full description of his own conversion under the name of Durtal, because — though it is quite needless for the understanding of "En Route" — Durtal is also the hero of a former book, "La- Bas," wherein experience is made of Satanism, "Black Masses" and other forms of detestable im- piety, known in France, and at this moment under investigation in the law courts, but, so far as we are aware, unknown in England. In France, as a rule, the population is Catholic; 

French Protestants, who answer very much to our Unitarians, are confined for the most part to certain centres, form isolated knots in other places; they do not in any sense leaven the people. Hence when a Frenchman loses Faith he has not as in England a Protestant sect handy, in joining which he may believe as much or as little as he please, but in which morals at least are upheld; he plunges only too often into sinful excesses, now and then into some complicated and enormous crime, becoming actively hostile to the dominant religion of his country; since it meets him at every turn, he cannot be indifferent to, nor ignore it. He is aided in his revolt, not by religious sects, bulwarks at least against the denial of God, but by societies of Freethinkers, "Solidaires," Freemasons, etc., bound to active warfare with the Church and sworn to keep the priest away from their families, so far as in them lies; especially at the hour of birth, by refusing baptism; in the hour of death, by withholding the last sacraments; and after death, by insisting on civil funerals.

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