certains cover

Certains (1889)


Saturday Review

7 December 1889.

In Certains (3) the author of the locus classicus as to the way in which calves make their first appearance on any stage appears as a critic of art dealing with MM. Degas, Rops, "Wisthler", G. Moreau, Chéret &c. One at least of the names we have mentioned (and that of not the least gifted artist) will suggest that the book is not a Christmas present for young ladies. M. Huysmans begins by laying it down that eclecticism and catholicity are anathema. "L'on ne peut pas sincèrement s'extasier devant Delacroix si l'on admire Bastien Lepage." Well, it depends very much on who "l'on" is; and upon the powers of appreciation with which he has been gifted. And it so happens that we who talk (so gently) to M. Huysmans can do these very two things most sincerely. But what we admit that we cannot sincerely extasiate ourselves before or admire is M. Huysmans's idea of style:— "Encenser en de sportulaires phrases les vaches-à-lait académiques des vieux prix." "On ne peut se figurer que ce grillage infundibuliforme soit achevé." And across the waves of Styx we hear another "certain," a Limousin scholar, after waiting for his mate through the ages, cry to H. Huysmans, "Come with fratern morigeration! come, that round thy incurvicervic form I may contort my salutationiferous braches, and with Mimallonian bombs sound the taratantara of triumph to thy majesty of style!"