Aurelia & other writings
by Gerard de Nerval
Translated by Geoffrey Wagner, Robert Duncan and Marc Lowenthal
240 pages, paperback
Aurélia is a document of dreams, obsession, and insanity. An account of Nerval’s unrequited passion for an actress and subsequent descent into madness, this book was a favorite of artist Joseph Cornell’s, and its author was championed by both Marcel Proust and André Breton. One of the original self-styled “bohemians,” Nerval was best known in his own day for parading a lobster on a pale blue ribbon through the gardens of the Palais-Royal, and for his suicide in 1855, hanging from an apron string he called the garter of the Queen of Sheba. Geoffrey Wagner’s translation of Aurélia was first published by Grove Press in 1959, but has remained out of print for nearly twenty years. Included are previously untranslated stories, and poet Robert Duncan’s version of the sonnet cycle “Chimeras”— making this the most complete collection of Nerval ever published in English.
“Nerval possessed to a tee the spirit with which we claim a kinship.”
— André Breton, Manifesto of Surrealism
“Each time I re-read Aurélia, a new shock of certainty in the pit of my stomach opens the eye to my heart: so I was observed! I was not alone in this world!” — René Daumal