Huysmans, Joris Karl

BORN 5 Feb 1848, Paris - DIED 12 May 1907, Paris
BIRTH NAME Huysmans, Charles Marie Georges
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Cimetière du Montparnasse, 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet (division 02 (family grave))

Charles Marie Georges Huysmans called himself Joris Karl Huysmans because his family came from the Southern Netherlands. When he was twenty he entered the Ministry of the Interior where he worked until 1897. He served in the army during the war of 1870, but dysentery prevented him from seeing action.

Apart from this professional career he conducted a literary career. His books were written in a realistic style. He was interested in the Middle Ages, magic and occultism. His first novel was "Marthe, histoire d’une fille" (1876).

Huysmans never married but his affair with the seamstress Anna Meunier lasted for a long time. In 1885 he travelled with her and her two daughters to Lourps, which became the setting for his novel "En Rade". In April 1893 Anna ended up in the mental asylum Saint-Anne, where she died on 12 February 1895.

In 1889 he met Berthe Courrière who introduced him to the occult arts. He used her as a model for Hyacinthe Chantelouve in "Là-bas". In 1893 he wrote an article for Le Figaro in which he accused the mystics Stanislas de Guaïta and Joséphin Péladan of killing abbé Boullan from a distance by means of black magic.

In 1892 he became a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for his work as a civil servant. In 1895 he spent a week in the monastery of Issigny and subsequently he became a Catholic. After he left the Ministry he lived near the Benedictine monastery in Liguge. Later he returned to Paris. Huysmans was one of the ten founding members of the Académie de Goncourt in 1900 and he became its first president. He died in 1907 from cancer.

Work: "À rebours" (1884); "En Rade" (1887); "La Cathédrale" (1898)"; "L'Oblat" (1903); "Les Foules de Lourdes" (1905).

Related persons
• was inspired by Courrière, Berthe de
• admired Moreau, Gustave
• quarreled with Péladan, Joséphin


The grave of J.K. Huysmans at the Montparnasse cemetery, Paris.
Picture by Androom (27 Aug 2001)


Joris-Karl Huysmans - Wikipedia

Hyrtl, Auguste

Published: 22 May 2009
Last update: 25 Apr 2022