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March 28, 2010


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[Des Esseintes} got to his feet to break the horrid fascination of his nightmare vision, and coming back to present-day preoccupations he felt suddenly uneasy about the tortoise.

It was lying absolutely motionless. He touched it; it was dead. Accustomed no doubt to a sedentary life, a modest existence spent in the shelter of its humble carapace, it had not been able to bear the dazzling luxury imposed upon it, the glittering cape in which it had been clad, the precious stones which had been used to decorate its shell like a jewelled ciborium.

- J.K. Huysmans, A Rebours (tr. Robert Baldick)


Flaubertine wins. As much as I like the La Bas--for its fond reminder of Zeroville, among other things--nothing tops that tortoise scene.

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