The protagonist of J.K. Huysmans’ famous novel À Rebours, the Duc des Esseintes is a wealthy, decadent French nobleman who loves imagining voyages to foreign lands. After becoming enamored with Dutch painting, he travels to Holland, but becomes disappointed when he realizes that the images he saw in art were merely mixed with other elements of the landscape. Later, after reading a Dickens novel, he decides to travel to London. While still in Paris, he buys a guidebook, visits an English bar and then a tavern, and heads to the train station, where he quickly decides that he would rather not deal with the discomfort of traveling and heads back home. He never leaves his estate again, but he continues to daydream about traveling abroad and surrounds himself with travel memorabilia like ship schedules. Des Esseintes’ disappointment reflects the gap between people’s expectations of travel and its reality, as well as the seeming purity of foreign cultures in art and the imagination.