Selected Writings [Shadow selves -- Memories of the Valois -- Unreal cities -- Dream/life -- Sonnets] by Gérard de Nerval

Gerard de Nerval (1808-1855), a contemporary of Poe, De Quincey, Gogol and Heine, introduced into French literature a mode of writing rooted in German romanticism yet already recognizably modernist in its explorations of the uncertain borderlines between dream and reality, irony and madness, autobiography and fiction.. "This selection of writings - the first such comprehensive gathering to appear in English - provides an overview of Nerval's work as a poet, belletrist, short-story writer and autobiographer. In addition to 'Aurelia', the memoir of his madness, 'Sylvie' (considered a 'masterpiece' by Proust), and the hermetic sonnets of 'The Chimeras', 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 purgatory of mental illness.

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