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"A slap in the face for old Mother Nature": Disease, Debility, and Decay in Huysmans's A Rebours

From: Literature and Medicine
Volume 15, Number 1, Spring 1996
pp. 112-128 | 10.1353/lm.1996.0006


Jordanova discusses the connections between medicine and nature through an analysis of Joris-Karl Huysmans's nineteenth century novel A Rebours (Against Nature), which she calls one of the "most virulent pieces of writing against nature" ever published. Jordanova argues that A Rebours is written as a case history that radially destabilizes, if somewhat ambivalently, the relationship between health and nature. It exhibits no healing powers in nature; instead it systematically denigrates nature as a feminized domain.