Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Joris-Karl "J.K." Huysmans, pseudonym for Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans

French Novelist

"The prayers of the liturgy alone can be uttered with impunity by any man, for it is the peculiarity of these aspirations that they adapt themselves in all ages to every state of mind and every phase of life."

"In this game he had acquired a great deal of muddled knowledge, more than one approximation and less than one certitude. And absence of energy, a curiosity that was too sharp to be crushed immediately, a lack of order in his ideas, a weakening of his spiritual boundaries, which were promptly twisted, an excessive passion for running along forked roads and wearying of the path as soon as he had started on it, mental indigestion demanding varied dishes, quickly tiring of the foods he desired, digesting almost all, but badly, was his state"

"Far from seeking to justify, as does the Church, the necessity of torments and afflictions, he cried, in his outraged pity: 'If a God has made this world, I should not wish to be that God. The world's wretchedness would rend my heart."

"Worshiping the Devil is no more insane than worshiping God...It is precisely at the moment when positivism is at its high-water mark that mysticism stirs into life and the follies of occultism begin."

"The belief that man is an irresolute creature pulled this way and that by two forces of equal strength, alternately winning and losing the battle for his soul; the conviction that human life is nothing more than an uncertain struggle between heaven and hell; the faith in two opposed entities, Satan and Christ - all this was bound to engender those internal discords in which the soul, excited by the incessant fighting, stimulated as it were by the constant promises and threats, ends up by giving in and prostitutes itself to whichever of the two combatants has been more obstinate in its pursuit."

"I wish to confound all these people, to create a work of art of a supernatural realism and of a spiritualist naturalism. I wish to prove... that nothing is explained in the mysteries which surround us."

"There are two ways of ridding ourselves of a thing which burdens us, casting it away or letting it fall. To cast away requires an effort of which we may not be capable, to let fall imposes no labour, is simpler, without peril, within reach of all. To cast away, again, implies a certain interest, a certain animation, even a certain fear; to let fall is absolute indifference, absolute contempt; believe me, use this method, and Satan will flee."