GéRARD DE NERVAL (French: ; 22 May 1808 – 26 January 1855) was the nom-de-plume of the French writer, poet, essayist and translator GéRARD LABRUNIE. A major figure of French romanticism , he is best known for his poems and novellas, especially the collection Les Filles du feu (The Daughters of Fire), which includes the novella Sylvie and the poem "El Desdichado". He played a major role in introducing French readers to the works of German Romantic authors, including Klopstock , Schiller , Bürger and Goethe . His later work delved into the relationship between poetry and madness, reality and fiction, and dreams and life. He was a major influence on Marcel Proust , André Breton and Surrealism .
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Early life * 1.2 Cénacle * 1.3 Work with Dumas * 1.4 First nervous breakdowns * 1.5 Travels * 1.6 Suicide
* 2 Assessments
* 3 Selected works by
Gérard de Nerval
* 6 Bibliography
* 6.1 Works in French * 6.2 Works in English * 6.3 Biography * 6.4 Criticism (books) * 6.5 Criticism (journal articles)
* 7 External links
Gérard Labrunie was born in Paris on 22 May 1808. His mother, Marie
Marguerite Antoinette Laurent, was the daughter of a clothing
salesman, and his father, Étienne Labrunie, was a young doctor who
had volunteered to serve as a medic in the army under
In June 1808, soon after Gérard's birth, Étienne was drafted. With
his young wife in tow, Étienne followed the army on tours of Germany
and Austria, eventually settling in a hospital in
Upon his return to France in 1814, Étienne took his son and moved back to Paris, starting a medical practice at 72 rue Saint-Martin. Gérard lived with his father but often stayed with his great-uncle Boucher in Mortefontaine and with Gérard Dublanc in Saint-Germain-en-Laye . (Dublanc, Étienne's uncle, was also Gérard's godfather.)
In 1822 Gérard enrolled at the collège Charlemagne . This was where
he met and befriended
At age 19, with minimal knowledge of the German language, he began
the ambitious task of translating Goethe 's Faust . His prose
translation appeared in 1828. Despite its many flaws, the translation
had many merits, and it did a great deal to establish his poetic
reputation. It's the reason why
In 1829, having received his baccalaureate degree two years late
(perhaps because he skipped classes to go for walks and read for
pleasure), Gérard was under pressure from his father to find steady
employment. He took a job at a notary's office. But his heart was
still set on literature. When
Though an eager participant in this so-called Romantic revolution,
Gérard was largely indifferent to the
July Revolution that also took
place in 1830. Instead, Gérard set himself two anthology projects:
one on German poetry, and one on French poetry.
The first anthology included translations of Klopstock , Schiller ,
Bürger and Goethe , and met with less enthusiasm than his translation
of Faust. The second anthology included poems by Ronsard , Joachim du
Jean-Antoine de Baïf
By the fall of 1830, the
Cénacle , a group created by Sainte-Beuve
to ensure Victor Hugo's success with Hernani, had assembled many famed
Alfred de Vigny ,
Alfred de Musset , Charles Nodier
Gérard, following Hugo's lead, started to write plays. Le Prince des
sots and Lara ou l'expiation were shown at the Théâtre de l\'Odéon
and met with positive reviews. He started to use the pseudonym Gérard
de Nerval, inspired by the name of a property near Loisy (a village
WORK WITH DUMAS
In January 1834, Nerval's maternal grandfather died and he inherited around 30,000 francs. That fall, he headed to Southern France, then traveled to Florence, Rome and Naples. On his return in 1835, he moved in with a group of Romantic artists (including Camille Rogier (fr)). In May of that year, he created Le Monde Dramatique, a luxurious literary journal that made him squander his inheritance. Debt-ridden, Gérard finally sold it in 1836. Getting his start in journalism, he traveled to Belgium with Gautier from July to September.
In 1837, Piquillo was shown at the Opéra-Comique. Despite Nerval's work on the project, Dumas' was the only name on the libretto. Jenny Colon (fr) played the main role. Nerval may have fallen in love with the actress. Some specialists claim that his unrequited love for her is what inspired many of the female figures that appear in his writing, including the Virgin Mary, Isis, the queen of Saba. Other experts disagree with this biographical analysis.
Despite Dumas' refusal to let him take credit for his work, Nerval continued to collaborate with Dumas on plays. In the summer of 1838, he traveled with Dumas to Germany to work on Léo Burckart, which eventually premiered at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin on 16 April 1839, six days after the premiere of another play the pair worked on together called L'Alchimiste. In November 1839, Nerval traveled to Vienna, where he met the pianist Marie Pleyel at the French embassy.
FIRST NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS
Back in France in March 1840, Nerval took over Gautier's column at La Presse. After publishing a third edition of Faust in July, including a preface and fragments of Second Faust, he traveled to Belgium in October. On 15 December Piquillo premiered in Brussels, where Nerval crossed paths with Jenny Colon and Marie Pleyel once again.
After a first nervous breakdown on 23 February 1841 he was cared for at the Sainte-Colombe Borstal ("maison de correction"). On 1 March Jules Janin published an obituary for Nerval in the Journal des Débats. After a second nervous breakdown, Nerval was housed in Docteur Esprit Blanche's clinic in Montmartre, where he remained from March to November.
On 22 December 1842 Nerval set off for the Near East, traveling to
Between 1844 and 1847, Nerval traveled to Belgium, the Netherlands,
to London, producing a significant amount of travel writing. At the
same time, he wrote novellas and opera librettos and translated poems
by his friend
Nerval had a pet lobster, which he walked at the end of a blue silk ribbon in the Palais-Royal in Paris. According to Théophile Gautier , Nerval said:
Why should a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog? ...or a cat, or a gazelle, or a lion, or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don't bark, and they don't gnaw upon one's monadic privacy like dogs do. And Goethe had an aversion to dogs, and he wasn't mad.
Increasingly poverty-stricken and disoriented, he committed suicide during the night of 26 January 1855, by hanging himself from the bar of a cellar window in the rue de la Vieille-Lanterne, a narrow lane in a squalid section of Paris. He left a brief note to his aunt: "Do not wait up for me this evening, for the night will be black and white."
The complete works of
Gérard de Nerval
Goethe read Nerval's translation of Faust and called it "very successful," even claiming that he preferred it to the original.
In 1867, Nerval's friend
In 1945, at the end of the Second World War and after a long illness,
the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
C. G. Jung
The English rock band Traffic included the jazz-rock track "Dream
Gerrard" in their 1974 album
When the Eagle Flies . Lyrics are known
to be mainly written by
SELECTED WORKS BY GéRARD DE NERVAL
* Les Faux Saulniers (The Salt Smugglers, 1850) – published over
several weeks in Le National , a daily newspaper. He later
incorporated some of this material in
Les Filles du Feu (in Angelique)
Les Illuminés (in L'Abbé de Bucquoy).
Voyage en Orient (1851) – an account of the author's voyages to
Germany, Switzerland and Vienna in 1839 and 1840, and to Egypt and
Turkey in 1843. Includes several pieces already published, including
Les Amours de Vienne, which first appeared in the
Revue de Paris in
1841. One of the author's major works.
* La Bohème Galante (1852) – a collection of short prose works
and poems including some of the set he later called Odelettes.
Dedicated and addressed to
* ^ The street existed only a few months longer. The area had been scheduled for demolition in June 1854, and that work began in the spring of 1855. The site of Nerval's suicide is now occupied by the Théâtre de la Ville .
* ^ A B Gérard Cogez,
Gérard de Nerval
WORKS IN FRENCH
* Œuvres complètes. 3 vols. Eds. Jean Guillaume & Claude Pichois. Paris: La Pléiade-Gallimard, 1984. Print. * Les filles du feu/Les Chimères. Ed. Bertrand Marchal. Paris: Folio-Gallimard, 2005. Print. ISBN 978-2070314799 * Aurélia – La Pandora – Les Nuits d'Octobre – Promenades et souvenirs. Ed. Jean-Nicolas Illouz. Paris: Folio-Gallimard, 2005. Print. ISBN 978-2070314768
WORKS IN ENGLISH
* Aurélia font-style: normal;"> (fr), Nerval, Paris, Julliard, 1986, coll. Les Vivants ISBN 2-260-00484-9 * Sowerby, Benn. The disinherited; the life of Gérard de Nerval, 1808–1855. New York: New York University Press, 1974. Print.
* Ahearn, Edward J. "Visionary Insanity: Nerval's Aurélia." Visionary Fictions: Apocalyptic Writing from Blake to the Modern Age. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Print. * Jeanneret, Michel. La lettre perdue: Ecriture et folie dans l'œuvre de Nerval. Paris: Flammarion, 1978. Print. * Gordon, Rae Beth (2014). "The Enchanted Hand: Schlegel's Arabesque in Nerval." In: Ornament, Fantasy, and Desire in Nineteenth-Century French Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press. * Jung, Carl Gustav (1945/2015). On Psychological and Visionary Art: Notes from C. G. Jung's Lecture on Gérard de Nerval's "Aurélia". Ed. Craig E Stephenson, Princeton: Princeton University Press. * Rhodes, Solomon A. (1951). Gérard de Nerval, 1808–1855: Poet, Traveler, Dreamer. New York: Philosophical Library. * Symons, Arthur (1919). "Gérard de Nerval." In: The Symbolist Movement in Literature. New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, pp. 69–95. * Lang, Andrew (1892). "Gérard de Nerval." In: Letters on Literature. London and New York: Longmans, Green ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v
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