Somehow the shot I got tonight reminds me vaguely of a rather withered cobra who's lost most of his sass. Or it could be the back end of some creature ... or any number of things not so pleasant to contemplate. What do you see? Let me know in the comments if the thought so moves you.
Photo taken June 4, 2007.
I did a little more research out of curiosity as to whether the Arum was referenced in Against Nature and found that the entire text of the novel is available online (links to English and French below). Though Huysmans doesn't cite Dracunculus specifically, he does reference the Arum family (and I wonder if Dracunculus was even in common cultivation back in 1884, but that's a dissertation topic I'm not going to pursue at this moment). The relevant paragraphs are quoted below, though if you're curious enough to read the entire chapter on bizarre plants, make sure to jump to Chapter VIII in the online text. Huysmans' stylistic renderings probably aren't for everyone, but if you've ever been curious about what "Decadent" literature was all about, you owe it to yourself to read at least a few chapters of this truly seminal late 19th Century French novel.
It was the Anthurium, one of the arum family, recently imported from Colombia; it formed part of a section of the same family to which also belonged an Amorphophallus, a plant from Cochin China, with long black stalks seamed with scars, like a negro's limbs after a thrashing.
Des Esseintes' cup of joy was brimming over.
PS to Manny. If you read all the way through the chapter, the linkage with venereal disease is made surrealistically (and hilariously, I might add) explicit. After all, it all comes down to syphilis... Or so Des Esseintes said!