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This selection of writings - the first such comprehensive gatherings to appear in English - provides an overview of Nerval's work as a poet, bellerist, short-story writer and autobiographer. In addition to "Aurelia", the memoir of his madness, "Sylvie" and the hermetic sonnets of "The Chimera's", this volume includes Nerval's Doppelganger tales and experimental fictions. Selections from his correspondence demonstrate a lucid awareness of the strategies by which nineteenth-century psychiatry consigned his visionary imagination to the puragatory of mental illness.
Poet, visionary, short-story writer and autobiographer, Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855) explored the uncertain borderlines between dream and reality, irony and madness, autobiography and fiction with his groundbreaking writings. This comprehensive selection of his works includes 'Aurélia', the memoir of his madness; the haunting novella of love and memory 'Sylvie' (considered to be a masterpiece by Proust); the hermetic sonnets of 'The Chimeras'; as well as Nerval's experimental fictions and selections from his correspondence, which demonstrate his lucid awareness of how nineteenth-century psychiatry consigned his fertile imagination to the status of mental illness. Together these pieces confirm Nerval's place as a pioneering modernist, a precursor of the French Symbolists and a vital model for such writers as Marcel Proust, André Breton, Antonin Artaud and Michel Leiris.
Gerard de Nerval (1805-55) was an inveterate traveller, and made many contributions of travel literature to various periodicals. He was also a prolific poet and wrote many tales including 'Sylvie' (1853), his most read work. Richard Sieburth is Professor of French at New York University. He has translated Walter Benjamin's 'Moscow Diary' and Michel Leiris' 'Nights as Day/Days as Night'.