Des esseintes homosexual -

Desire Seeking Expression: Mallarmé s Prose Pour Des Esseintes by

French? Greek philosophy? How to rebuild a carburetor? Thats how culture gets to you: it surrounds you all the time, trying to make you into a copy of itself, and you and everyone in that culture are a part of that system. Think for a minute just how much space in your brain is devoted to information like that, stuff you dont know you remember until suddenly, you hear it again. Now, think of how else that space could have been used: what would you rather you knew instead of those jingles? Ideas can be infectious, they can be viral, they pray on our hopes and fears, our prejudices and insecurities, but over time, we build up better and better defenses to recognize and root out these ideas. It is suggestive evidence for the social construction of homosexuality that it only bore real artistic fruit once it had a definition and an aesthetic, and that the period 1884 to 1886 produced both.

In the space left for the homosexual (and it should be recognised that À Rebours sits well inside the bounds of the deviant being delimited by heterosexual society of the late nineteenth century the book reclaims much of the territory to which the perverse has been exiled. Huysmans has to look to Baudelaire and Poe for inspiration, for a mode of expression that philosophically, aesthetically and sexually could hold Des Esseintes. After Huysmans, decadent culture, which became a vessel for exporting homosexual cultures and ideas into the artistic mainstream, had only to look to À Rebours. However prevalent ideas of the 'invert' may have been earlier in the century, it supports Foucault's thesis, and Neill's that hostility to homosexuality is born at least partly from fear of homosexuality, that the publication of Huysmans' work as well as Krafft-Ebing's within two years of each other, immediately preceded a flowering of homosexual literature and art. All your actions are defined by that culture, its just that instead of following the example, you do the opposite, which makes you just as predictable-which means you are just as useful to the culture.