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March 21, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

BECALMED by J.-K. Huysmans, translated from the French by Terry Hale (Atlas Press: $13.99; 155 pp., paperback original). The first English translation of Huysmans' " En Rade " offers readers a link between the morbid hypersensitivity of "Against Nature" and the crumbling Gothic milieu of "Down There." The rather thin plot involves a bankrupt Parisian couple who take refuge in the moldering ruins of the Chateau de Lourps. One of the key authors of the Decadent movement, Huysmans juxtaposes the squalid reality of the chateau with a series of fantastic dreams. The minimal story provides the author with an opportunity to display his unique blend of jeweled imagery, biblical/classical erudition and eerie symbolism in an odd but significant contribution to French literature.

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