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The Vatard Sisters

Overview

Les Soeurs Vatard, described by its author as a "lewd but exact" slice of life, was J.-K. Huysmans' second novel. Huysmans abandoned poetry and turned to the novel at a time when the works of Emile Zola were intensely controversial; Les Soeurs Vatard is dedicated to Zola by ""his fervent admirer and devoted friend.""
In it, Huysmans vividly depicts the scene that for his generation of French writers stood for the contemporary world: the brutal,...
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The Vatard Sisters

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Overview

Les Soeurs Vatard, described by its author as a "lewd but exact" slice of life, was J.-K. Huysmans' second novel. Huysmans abandoned poetry and turned to the novel at a time when the works of Emile Zola were intensely controversial; Les Soeurs Vatard is dedicated to Zola by ""his fervent admirer and devoted friend.""
In it, Huysmans vividly depicts the scene that for his generation of French writers stood for the contemporary world: the brutal, teeming life of the industrial quarters of Paris in the 1870s.

Huysmans' Vatard sisters are "Désirée, an urchin of fifteen, a brunette with large, pale eyes that were somewhat crossed, plump without being fat, attractive and clean; and Céline, the carouser, a big girl with clear eyes and hair the color of straw, a solid, vigorous girl whose blood raced and danced in her veins."" The two are part of that "bizarre race of young women" who work as bookbinders, whose lives revolve around the gaslighted bindery works, the gaudy shop windows, and cheap wineshops that Huysmans describes with minute and colorful detail. His precisely observed sketches show that Naturalism as practiced by Buysmans had none of Zola' s emphasis on "scientific" determinism, but centered primarily on the faithful rendering of what he described as "living persons in real milieus."

The Vatard Sisters is the first English translation of Les Soeurs Vatard.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A powerful and outstanding work." Gustave Flaubert
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781907650536
  • Publisher: Dedalus, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/28/2013
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

J.-K. Huysmans (1847-1907) began writing as a naturalist in the style of Zola. His early works excel in their descriptive ability and he is one of the greatest authors at describing the life of Paris and its surroundings as witnessed by his Parisian Sketches (Dedalus translation by Brendan King in 2004). He changed from being an obscure author and art critic to one of the most famous authors of his day with the publication of A Rebours in 1884.

Brendan King is a freelance writer, reviewer and translator with a special interest in late nineteenth-century French fiction. His Ph.D. is on the life and work of J.-K.Huysmans.
He has translated La-Bas, Parisian Sketches, Marthe, Against Nature , Stranded, The Cathedral and The Vatard Sisters by J.-K. Huysmans for Dedalus.
He has also edited The Life of J.-K.Huysmans by Robert Baldick for Dedalus.

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