Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans (February 5, 1848 – May 12, 1907) was a French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans.
He is most famous for the novel À Rebours (Against the Grain or Against Nature), a representative work of Parisian decadence that heavily influenced British aesthetes like Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley. Such books in Paris were wrapped in yellow paper to alert the reader to their lascivious content.
In Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), a major corrupting influence on Dorian is "the yellow book" which Lord Henry sends over to amuse him after the suicide of his first love. This "yellow book" is understood by critics to be À Rebours.
Huysmans was baptised in the Latin Quarter and spent the vast majority of his life in Paris. For a time he was involved in the Satanist & occult scenes of fin-de-siècle France, a turbulent France in which those disaffected with Republicanism and rationalism wrestled with art, tradition, the transcendent, and the fading memories of a once great monarchy. As the Decadent movement reassigned value from knowledge to beauty, Huysmans held, with others, the notion that only art could save the Evil One from modern cynicism; this was the concept of the 'Decadent devil', the devil translated from the realm of religion to the realm of art.
His lover, Anna Meunier, suffered a decline into insanity in her later years; interned in an asylum in 1893, died in 1895.