Huysmans - The Durtal Trilogy (En Route, The Cathedral, The Oblate)

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Joris-Karl Huysmans’s trilogy of novels charting the religious and life journey of Monsieur Durtal, who once investigated a satanic order in decadent late nineteenth century Paris (Lá-bas, “The Depths” or “The Damned”), and now, turning toward God and becoming a Catholic, undertakes a mystical journey of sorts through a monastery (En Route; “On the Way”), the cathedral of Chartres (La Cathédrale, “The Cathedral”), and finally enters life as a Benedictine oblate (L’Oblat, “The Oblate”).

This trilogy is intensely autobiographical, following the pattern of Huysmans's own life. Huysmans was an art critic as well as a novelist and thus the exquisitely constructed Cathedral has been used by generations of visitors as a guidebook to Chartres Cathedral. This edition offers the flowing translations that brought the original to an English-speaking audience, but with footnoted annotations explaining many of the erudite Huysmans's more obscure references to the artists, saints, and plant-life that populate the unfolding epic of Durtal's journey. Huysmans and his character Durtal are central to French author Michel Houellebecq’s best-selling and controversial novel Submission (2015). 

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