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Meet Jean des Esseintes: reclusive, diseased, the last scion of an outmoded aristocratic family. He is also an unapologetic aesthete, prone to overwhelmingly intense sensory experiences in the presence of art. As he finds himself ever more enervated by the illness that consumes him, des Esseintes turns his back on wider society - a society he loathes - and retreats "upwards into dream, seeking refuge in illusions of extravagant fantasy." The result is a masterpiece of decadence, insanity, invective, and sheer style.