This is a brilliant book. Not only is it interesting in and of itself, containing some magnificent writing, but it presents an original and fundamental analysis of the entire movement away from Naturalism (Huysmans began as a disciple of Zola) and into Symbolism (Mallarmé), Decadence, and (hence) into Modernism (including even the strand that issues in the likes of a Julius Evola *). I have learned an enormous amount from reading it.
(* p. 146: "In these comparatively healthy volumes Barbey d'Aurevilly was constantly tacking to and fro between those two channels of Catholic belief which eventually run into one: mysticism and sadism.")
One of the highest, most astute (and finely analytical) products of a late and dying Age...
Ô miroir !
Eau froide par l’ennui dans ton cadre gelée
Que de fois et pendant des heures, désolée
Des songes et cherchant mes souvenirs qui sont
Comme des feuilles sous ta glace au trou profond,
Je m’apparus en toi comme une ombre lointaine,
Mais, horreur ! des soirs, dans ta sévère fontaine,
J’ai de mon rêve épars connu la nudité !
Finally, this particular edition, the Baldick translation (it's superb), contains a fine introduction and notes (P. McGuinness), plus J.-K. H.'s 1903 post-conversion Preface, all of which are very informative -- especially McGuinness' Introduction.