The Life of J.-K. Huysmans


By Robert Baldick
Published by Dedalus Books

blue  First time Baldick’s biography has been available in a paperback edition.

blue  Updated second edition, with an introduction and additional notes by Brendan King.

blue  To purchase this book click here.

Like Froude’s biography of Carlyle, Holroyd’s Shaw, and Ellmann’s Joyce, Robert Baldick’s The Life of J.-K. Huysmans has become not just a standard reference work, to be consulted as regularly as the writing of the author whose life it chronicles, but a work of literature in its own right. First published fifty years ago, Baldick’s classic biography presents a compelling narrative of Huysmans’ life and work in all its various phases — from the Naturalism of the 1870s to the Decadence of the 1880s, and from the occult vogue of the 1890s to the Catholic Revival of the turn of the century — and it is written with such impeccable scholarship that it is still relied on today as regards matters of fact and detail. For this new edition — the first time the biography has been reprinted in English — Baldick’s notes have been extensively revised and updated by Brendan King to take account of new developments and publications in the field of Huysmansian studies.

‘Baldick has produced the authorative biography which supercedes all previous ones, and which is the soundest, fullest and most scholarly in any language.’ Enid Starkie, New Statesman.

‘An enormous amount of research must have gone into producing this excellent book. The trouble was well spent. Not only is a considerable author displayed in all his many sides, but also a great fragment of French intellectual life is revealed in the process.’ Anthony Powell, Punch.

Brendan King has just completed a PhD on Huysmans’ life and work at Birkbeck College. His translations of Huysmans’ Parisian Sketches (2004) and Là-bas (2001) are published by Dedalus.