The Star

10 July 1907.



PARIS, May 13. — Joris Karl Huysmans, one of the strangest figures in modern French literature, who began writing highly reaslistic novels and ended by abjuring all his previous works and writing books of a mystical character, died last night.

He dictated a letter of invitation to his own funeral a few days ago. He had suffered great agony for months past from a cancerous growth in the jaw, but had shown extraordinary fortitude and courage. He would lie smoking cigarettes for hours. When told that the smoking was hardmful he would say, “I am not afraid of death. I am quite prepared for it.” With his friends he would discuss “Madame Death” in a spirit of pleasant raillery.

A few days ago his secretary entered his room with the usual black-bordered letter sent out in France to announce a person’s death. It was the announcement of the death of Professor Polrier. The sight of the black-edged envelope gave Huysmans an idea.

“Sit down by the side of the bed,” he said to his secretary, “and we will draw up my own obituary.” Huysmans then dictated the notice, ending with the words, “who died on —, fortified by the sacraments of the church.”

One of his last requests was that after death he should be dressed in the robe of the Order of the Benedictine Monks,of which he had intended to become a member.