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: After the Satanic debaucheries of LÃ -bas (1891) and the sensual battles of En Route (1895), comes the cloistered calm of The Cathedral (1898). In this long, reflective novel, Huysmans' alter-ego, Durtal, sets out to explore the mystic symbolism embodied in one of the greatest gothic edifices in France, Chartres cathedral. Written at the time of the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal that threatened to tear France apart, Chartres cathedral became for Huysmans a potent symbol of the harmonious diversity of the Middle Ages, one that had the potential to unify the divisions in contemporary French society. This complex, multi-layered vision of Chartres cathedral as a structure in which art, science and religion could exist in harmony rather than discord, captured the public imagination on its first publication, and The Cathedral became a runaway bestseller.
This edition contains 20 photographs of parts of Chartres cathedral mentioned in the text.