Extending des Esseintes's search for concentrated meaning manifested as elixir, osmazome
, quintessence, or distillate, Durtal looks for women whose purity is experienced as sacramental food.
Michael Riffaterre describes it as "the literary genre with an oxymoron for a name"; Joris-Karl Huysmans calls it "the osmazome
of literature, the essential oil of art"; George Barker compares it to the Loch Ness monster ("a creature of whose existence we have only very uncertain evidence"); and in her seminal 1959 study, Suzanne Bernard terms it "an Icarian art." The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics highlights, above all, the brevity, prosody, and lyrical nature of the text, summarizing it as "a composition able to have any or all features of the lyric, except that it is put on the page--though not conceived of--as prose."
In his book, The Physiology of Taste, Brillat-Savanin makes reference to "osmazome
." Considered a precursor to the concept of umami.