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Book reviews for "Nerval,_Gerard_de" sorted by average review score:

The Devil in Love: Followed by Jacques Cazotte: His Life, Trial, Prophecies, and Revelations
Published in Hardcover by Marsilio Pub (1994)
Authors: Jacques Cazotte, Gerard De Nerval, Stephen Sartarelli, and Jorge Luis Borges
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An Extraordinary Story
A tale of human foolishness and supernatural evil in the form of a beautiful love story. What a novel idea, especially for the eighteenth century. The devil is found in an obscure but fitting role in this surprisingly entertaining book. He has many faces; all deceiving and different; all equally wretched and evil. This book captures some of his essence. Excellent, and to be read again.

one of the best books on the subject
A book not to be ignored, this stands as a perfect example of what a book can achieve: beauty, clarity, truth, and the ability to mirror the world we live in while creating a fantastic tale.

The story unfolds in luminous, poetic writing that is a total joy to read, and in the end leaves the reader fully satisfied, yet still longing for more. A book to be read again and again. Wonderful.

nothing but fun
this is a master work that is very important if we are to understand ourselves as well as the world in which we live. A fascinating read for the newcomer to such fiction, as well as the seasoned pro. A book to be enjoyed as much as it is to be studyed. Poetic, sad, and often very illuminating, "the devil in love" belongs to that league of literature that works on every level. Not to be ignored.

Selected Writings
Published in Paperback by Univ Of Mi Press (01 January, 1970)
Author: Gerard De Nerval
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The Ruined Tower
Nerval was the Mother of All Bohemians, a romantic eccentric who set the stage for latter-day zanies from Arthur Rimbaud to John Wieners. His most famous stunt was parading through Paris with a lobster, explaining to his friends: "He does not bark, and he knows the secrets of the deep." With the beautiful, dense, enigmatic poems in 'The Chimeras' he virtually invented literary Modernism, while 'Aurelia' is one of the most touching accounts of schizophrenia ever written (the book is worth it for these two pieces alone, along with the proto-Proustian 'Sylvie'). Nerval's tragic disintegration, ending in suicide in 1855, seems to mark the point where Romanticism turned from fantasy and Nature to madness and derangement, a pattern that still plays out in our culture in a hundred different ways. Sieburth's a little intrusive with the prefaces and footnotes--he seems anxious you might not 'get' Nerval without his help. The sections are also arranged thematically instead of chronologically, which makes it hard to trace his development as a writer. But the notes include plenty of useful biographical information, and for the money it's easily the best selection of Nerval's writings in English. A great intro to a fascinating writer.

An excellent phantasmagoric collection!
I came upon this volume by chance, after it won a translation prize from PEN, but was glad I did. Nerval seems to take up a curious position in literary history, and though is something of an eccentric, he was loved by later writers (Proust) and by artists (Joseph Cornell). The stories are strange and fantastic, travel narratives which are more journeys of the mind than actual travels. Anyone with an interest in the surreal, or in the fabular fictions of Calvino or Borges, will find these stories a delight. The stories raise questions about identity, sanity and madness, and linguisticly are truly alluring.

Also included are a number of poems and letters, which combined with the prose pieces present a great picture of the author's whole work. It seems like the best place to start for anyone who has not read Nerval before, but I'm sure that dedicated enthusiasts will find new pleasure in the excellent translation and the lucid editorial expositions that Richard Sieburth provides throughout the text.

The Chimeras
Published in Paperback by Anvil Press Poetry (14 February, 1985)
Authors: Gerard de Nerval and Peter Jay
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the veil lifted
Nerval's work brings us to a moment when the Western mind was losing faith and seeking a way out. Drifting through the "forest of symbols" in the mid 19th century, Nerval anticipated everything from Symbolism to Surrealism. Baudelaire and his children may have found many dark visions, but Nerval first illuminated the hidden path. "Chimeras" is a work that is both romantic and bitter. Goddesses are profaine and unattainable. The muse bestows a bitter blessing, for one of the great themes of this sonnet sequence is the inability to reconcile the real and the unreal. Many poets have mined this idea since, but this trailblazing work still holds its power. Few poems can match the unforgettable closing sonnet, "Vers Dorees", a fierce message to modern man. "Freethinking" humanity must humble itself, for it cannot control "life that bursts in everything". So charged is this poem, that the final line, "a pure spirit lies beneath the skin of stones", pushes the reader to the limits of reason.

Journey to the Orient
Published in Paperback by Immel Publishing Ltd (1998)
Author: Gerard de Nerval
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Sheikhs, Caliphs, and Hashish.
I'm sure that it's a fairly select demographic that buys books by this guy, or has ever heard of him for that matter. He's not necessarily one of those authors that's going to win over a lot of people nowadays even if they do "rediscover" him. Oprah's not going to feature Gerard de Nerval in her little book club. He is just simply too bizarre, too occult and obscure, too "rococo" for the average reader, and I guess he always was. But for those very reasons, there are certain people who will think he's the best thing before or since sliced bread.

Evidently fond of exotic locales, customs, women, drugs, etc, it only follows that this nineteenth-century Frenchman would find himself magnetically drawn to the "Orient," to the fabled meccas of Beirut, Cairo, and of course the "font of drug-taking" itself, Constantinople, where he could liberally sample the world-renowned hashish and slave-girls without fear of reprimand from neurotic Europeans obsessed with "propriety." (Indeed his descriptions of such phenomena are just as offensive to the ultra-PC postmodernist of today as they were to his bourgeois contemporaries - and for essentially identical reasons.) He is very much the chauvinist white guy who feels entitled to indulge when among "inferiors."

The pedantic intricacy of his descriptions is surely a literary reflection of the action of the drug. "Journey to the Orient" is no ordinary travel-journal; it may be doubted whether half the events recounted ever actually transpired; but the details are consistently rendered with hallucinogenic clarity. In fact, only a few fragments of the original massive tome are included in this translation, but the entire second portion consists of a tale supposedly overheard in a Constantinopolitan coffee-and-hash house, a re-telling, with florid embellishments, of the Masonic legend of the building of Soliman's (Solomon's) Temple and the murder of the architect Adoniram (Hiram Abiff) - yet the narrative never looses the conviction of first-hand experience. I picked the following passage at random - it gives an idea of the baroque style of the book:

"Darkness suddenly falls and the sky is muffled by black specks which grow bigger as they approach; flocks of birds tumble into the temple, divide into groups, form circles, jostle together, arranging themselves finally into a sumptuous, shimmering foliage; while their wings unfold into opulent bouquets of green, scarlet, jet-black and azure."

It's easy to see why Gerard de Nerval was such an icon for Surrealists like Joseph Cornell. One can open the book to any page and find such immediately visceral passages; the context is almost unimportant. Life is a dream, a sequence of fantastic images, and the best literature can do is to embody the existential experience. If this sounds like your cup of hashish-paste, then dig in.

Aurelia and Other Writings
Published in Paperback by Exact Change (1996)
Authors: Gerard De Nerval, Geoffrey Wagner, Robert Duncan, Marc Lowenthal, Gent Sturgeon, and Gerard De Nerval
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good beginning
This work begins with the author's vision of another world, which is filled with vile monsters and harmless spirits. He also describes his wanderings through Paris and his attempted suicide. The book was not completed because he attempted suicide again and succeeded. He was a sensitive man and this world was too much for him. michael in bryan, texas

like Proust condensed
that's the best way to put it: like condensed Proust. De Nerval's stories of place, love, and memory have found a permanent place in my heart. As other reviewers have noted, these stories seem the very definition of romanticism-- an unexpected quality in a writer often remembered most for his madness, eccentricity, and ultimately, suicide.

this edition by Exact Change Press is also worth remarking upon: the paper feels great, the design is perfect... hmm, running out of synonyms for "good."

all in all, a great volume by a lesser-known master.

Best explanation of a Romantic
Because this book shows what a real romantic means beyond the common meaning of "being in love". Because De Narval is a Romantic, he behaves trying to be the center of everything, no matter the price or the pride. He loves as a tool to make women move around him. His dreams are an extension of his life, so he can live any dream as real because the memorie of the real is the same as the memorie of the dream.

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods
Published in Hardcover by Harvard Univ Pr (1994)
Author: Umberto Eco
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A bit of a curve...
I bought this book used in Berkeley hoping for a tutorial from one of my heroes on how to write and what the narrative form can be. I finished by cursing myself for not having read Nerval but examining the relationship between the author, the text and the reader. My lasting impression is that this book caused me to examine the way in which the author imposes his own views over the text - and for that I am grateful.

Six Walks: A Sojourn in Eco's Fancy
Eco's "Six Walks in the Fictional Woods" smells like Italo Calvino's "Six Memos for the Next Millenium". Each essay, or walk, is an extended musing, in an informally scholastic tone of voice, of the author's preferred elements of fiction reading and composition. Most of the comparative material is taken from Nerval's, Joyce's and his own works, and given splashes of splendour with the special touch of brilliance to which we all know Eco has easy access. The essays lack the intensified beauty of his fiction ("Foucault's Pendulum," or "The Name of the Rose"), but demand consideration standing out as interesting thought material from the legendary linguist. --Alejandro Arevalo

more accessible than expected
Six Walks is more accessible than I had expected (my copy is now heavily highlighted, marked up, and loaded with the little plastic stickies I use to flag ideas and references). Eco is speaking to readers and, thereby, equally to writers. The six Charles Elliot Norton lectures begin with the role time plays in fiction and end with the importance (to our perception of reality) of accuracy in writing fiction. This is weighty stuff made accessible by Eco's illustration by example: Yes, Dante, Shakespeare, and Kafka, but the writers who give us Hercule Poirot, Agent 007 and Little Red Riding Hood as well. If you read fiction or write fiction, the material will be useful and the book will please.

Au pays des chimères
Published in Unknown Binding by A.G. Nizet ()
Author: Jean Sénelier
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Published in Paperback by French & European Pubns (11 January, 1995)
Author: Gerard De Nerval
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Published in Hardcover by AMS Press (1982)
Author: Gerard Labrunie Gerard De Nerval
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Aurelia Followed by Sylvie
Published in Paperback by Asylum Arts Pub (1993)
Authors: Gerard De Nerval, Kendall Lappin, and Eric Basso
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