Aurelia[Ebook] ➩ Aurelia ➯ Gérard de Nerval – Aurelia is French poet and novelist Gerard de Nerval's account of his descent into madness a condition provoked in part by his unreuited passion for an actress named Jenny Colon One of the original se Aurelia is French poet and novelist Gerard de Nerval's account of his descent into madness a condition provoked in part by his unreuited passion for an actress named Jenny Colon 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 was posthumously notorious for his suicide in hanging from an apron string he called the garter of the ueen of Sheba This hallucinatory document of dreams obsession and insanity has fascinated artists such as Joseph Cornell who cited passages from it to explain his own work; Antonin Artaud who saw his own madness mirrored by Nerval's; and Andre Breton who placed Nerval in the highest echelon of Surrealist heroes Geoffrey Wagner's translation of Aurelia was first published by Grove Press in but has remained out of print for nearly years Also included in this volume are previously untranslated stories by Marc Lowenthal and poet Robert Duncan's version of the sonnet cycle Chimeras making this the most complete collection of Nerval's influential oeuvre ever published in English.

Gérard de Nerval was the nom de plume of the French poet essayist and translator Gérard Labrunie one of the most essentially Romantic French poets.

Aurelia PDF/EPUB ✓ Paperback
  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • Aurelia
  • Gérard de Nerval
  • English
  • 04 August 2016
  • 9781878972095

10 thoughts on “Aurelia

  1. Vit Babenco says:

    Every man is a reflection of the worldThe macrocosm or greater world was constructed by cabbalistic arts; the microcosm or smaller world is its image reflected in every heartGérard de Nerval descends into his madness to find there Aurélia like Orpheus descends into Tartarus to find Eurydice And the insanity becomes Gérard de Nerval’s underworldI entered a huge hall where many persons were assembled I recognized familiar faces everywhere The features of relatives whose deaths I had mourned were reproduced in the faces of other ancestors who dressed in ancient garb greeted me with the same fatherly warmthHe’s journeying through his visions he gets lost he is terrified and awedThen the monsters changed shape and shedding their original skins reared up formidably on their huge hind legs and trampled the branches and the grasses with the enormous bulk of their bodies; and in this chaos of nature they engaged in battles in which I also took part for my body was as strange as theirs All of a sudden a wondrous harmony echoed through our solitudes and it seemed as if all the shrieks and roars and hissings of these elemental creatures were now joining in this divine chorusIt is as hard to get out of madness as to get out of hell – just a single look back and the madness will reclaim you foreverSuicide is a one way to say ‘Stop time thou art so beautiful’

  2. Eddie Watkins says:

    Aurelia is a non fictional account of Nerval's descent into hell perhaps precipitated by the death of an actress he was obsessedin love with During this descent he is beseiged with visions both waking and sleeping of universal love and unity and universal desolation He is also beseiged by his own Catholic guilt for seriously dabbling in the occult for the purposes of figuring out these very visions These conflicts entangled him in a significant psychic bind and landed him in an asylum from which this document seems to've been writtenIt begins with the famous dictum Our dreams are a second life and continues from there to elaborate in great detail the substance of this second life giving much greater credence to this second life than waking life Through his trials and his meetings and conversations like direct mind to mind transmissions with deceased friends and relatives and purely spiritual beings Nerval is convinced of the immortality of the soul and this assurance of immortality is what saves him from total despairing madness And so Aurelia ends on a positive note though Nerval was not to survive long after the writing of it hanging himself from a window grating in 1855 Poor Nerval what a troubled and beautiful soul Thank you for descending to Hell for all of usThere are other stories poems and documents in this fantastic collection that I'm not reviewing all of which are great or at least well worth reading esp the short sonnet seuence The Chimeras translated by Robert Duncan but none have the raw immediacy yet still classical French structure and control of Aurelia

  3. Nate D says:

    As recommended by Rene Daumal various Surrealists and others The title story is actually less fully dream like than expected but actually a personal account of ones own descent into and intermittent recovery from insanity In that sense it does fit in well with various Surrealist's acounts of their own periods of delusion Unica Zurn's The Man of Jasmine and Leonora Carrington's Down Below are key examples of this genre while looking ahead to some of the oneiric accounts in fictions of the mid century Anna Kavan's 1948 Sleep Has His House or Doris Lessing's somehow dated 1970s Briefing for a Descent Into Hell All of which company should suggest that I'd love this but I didn't find myself totally enthralled by its largely diaristic realism As a truthful record of its times it is good but for that we have the other sometimes even better stories and essays here full of pastoral detail and historical sense of place Even Nerval's interests tend to endear me to him as he seems to wander about Paris and its environs in a proto derive or flaneur fashion dwells upon the losses of urban development and obsesses about Isis and the customs surrounding her in antiuityMy concurrent reading of The Second Sex tends to color my readings of much else around it through it's sheer force and monolithic density as it will for a while give its near endless 800 dense pages In fact de Beauvoir cites Nerval as belonging to the Bretonian tradition of gloryiging Women as the gateway natural wonder and inspiration as one of the failed literary approaches to women falling uite short of any authentic relationship I'd say that Nerval actually fares a little better his Aurelia may serve as guide to his dreamworld but in an account of his own mounting madness which rather turns the tables on Breton's exalting of Nadja for instance He's even acutely aware of the inherently problematic tendency to fall in love not with actual people but with his own images thereof It's clear even amidst his rhapsodic passages that this is his loss and he knowns it not any failing of the women who move through his life and depart on to their own So while Nerval may in some way illustrate the type of literary representation as de Beauvoir suggest I was pleasantly surprised by the self awareness by which he makes it rather useful and interesting

  4. Chris says:

    I strongly caution anyone who treasures the precious little time they have on this beautiful big blue planet not to suander it reading the work of Gerard Labrunie inspired to use the name Nerval in homage to the estate of a wealthy ancestor If in the most unlikely of events you happen to be captured by some twisted gang of malcontents and forced to read the work of Nerval under torture do your family proud and deny this ridiculous reuest until they’re forced to kill you This sounds like a drastic measure but maybe one of these two scenarios will help you summon your inner strength1 Consider the wise words of Dumbledore at the end of ‘Goblet of Fire’ when he wisely states “Remember if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy remember what happened to Cedric Diggory” That’s got to hit home with just about everybody2 Recall the inherent heroism from Dad’s Nam stories; not the ones about catching the clap while on RR in Bangkok or tossing bricks of dope on a bonfire I mean the stories in which he’d pull off his hefty radio euipment after a firefight only to realize the thing had absorbed a few bullets which would have crippled him if that cumbersome crap hadn’t been present; the damn thing actually managed to serve a purpose other than help him understand how much it absolutely sucks to drag about 50 additional pounds of euipment around in a fucking jungle while getting shot at Sure they couldn’t call in that critical airstrike to turn the tide of the battle probably in NVA favor seeing as it probably would have resulted in decimating his peeps due to friendly fire when some myopic bombardier tried executing a strike with surgical precision on battling forces under a canopy of foliage but they bravely fought on and eventually won they day Nevermind the compelling sidenote that after botching the re wiring of this primitive telecommunications device his suad discovered they were somehow able to place calls to 976 JUGS sending the platoon into a downward spiral of lethargy and preposterous beat off sessions previously unknown to the annals of Asian history Think about those kinds of sacrifices; Cedric losing his life to unknowingly help galvanize the resolve of the wizarding community to purge the blight of Voldemort’s resurrection and our going toe to toe with Viet Nam which I can only assume thwarted the menacing spread of communism that would have made “1984” a certifiable reality Anyway whatever the reason I strongly recommend staying clear of Nerval especially this edition of Aurelia Other WritingsIt comes as no surprise to me that this edition was published by Exact Change If I’ve learned one thing over the past couple of years it’s that the cretins selecting works at Exact Change might possibly be the most dunderheaded morons currently working in concert They claim to specialize in ‘bizarre’ and ‘decadent’ works which are vastly ‘under appreciated’ and ‘esoteric’ mistakenly believing that the rest of the world is ignoring these writings for a reason other than that they suck and are usually preposterously asinine It also seems like they select their authors on the grounds of ridiculous shit they gained notoriety for rather than any actual talent for telling a decent story highlighted by their tendency to preface each weak edition with a cute little narrative on just how uncouth the author was instead of mentioning anything which might have something to do with the actual book or any justification for publishing it other than to perpetuate the fallacy that because some well heeled cretin acting like a goddam nimrod has something to say there might be something of worth buried amidst the ramblings Come to think of it I should probably be working at Exact Change myself since I apparently can’t review a book without digressing into god knows what kind of like this reviewAnyhow let this serve as a notice to any aspiring authors out there struggling to get published you’ve probably got a good shot at getting an offer from Exact Change if you’re willing to make a few minor compromises including but not limited to 1 participating in sexual extravagances anything from orgies to incest to incestuous orgies 2 being committed to an asylum or tragically succumbing to some form of madness 3 evidencing your deteriorating mental state by doing imbecilic shit like walking a lobster on a leash unearthing corpses and toppling headstones or diddling yourself in public 4 killing yourself this helps reduce the time spent uselessly uibbling with Exact Change regarding royalty checks and besides you’re certainly not doing it for the money right? you’re all about artistic integrity Such appear to be demanding criteria which Exact Change sets for the scribes of truly inspiring and timeless literature Gerard Nerval somehow managed to sueeze a little writing into his hectic schedule of naked poetry readings and eating ice cream from a skull while on leave from psychiatric care It’s unfortunate that he had this idle time as eventually someone was going to come along and mistake his eccentricity as a sure sign that Nerval had something profound to say His magnum opus ‘Aurelia’ begins this collection of catshit and it didn’t take than a few pages for me to realize that if this is accepted as the guy’s best work I was probably going to end up throwing this filth in Lake Tahoe before my four day vacation was over In consideration for the other nekkid freaks at the clothing optional beach where we decided to catch a few rays I realized it would be a travesty to befoul the lake in this manner On the other hand struggling through Nerval’s inanity didn’t help to make my manhood look any impressive on this exhibitionistic stretch of shoreline; if anything it seemed to have to opposite effect so I abandoned any attempt to finish the book for the time being and admired the scenery while contemplating how best to tan nude without getting a sunburn on my crusty old ballsacAbout the only way I can sum up my feelings for ‘Aurelia’ is to classify it as the male counterpart to The Bell Jar an agonizing look at abject stupidity and self perpetuated helplessness which caused me to beg for the author to justfuckingenditalready; their story their life whichever they can summon up the grit to accomplish first The story is pretty simple; a turgid tale of unreuited and senseless infatuation for a stage actress Aurelia on behalf of a maladjusted loser Nerval Perhaps what I found most distressing was that I just couldn’t give a rat’s ass for the dilemma the narrator is entrenched in; I’d like to think that the allure of the whole ‘love in vain’ genre is that you need to come to sympathize to some degree with the embattled admirer or to at least understand the basis for the undying love which they are professing 'Aurelia' doesn’t inspire anything of the sort Worse yet Aurelia has the nerve to get ill and die almost immediately and from that point on page 4 the story crawls along with the narrator taking every opportunity to exclaim ‘woe is me’ while scribbling a bunch of horseshit about how he’d been done wrong by fate while succumbing to the dread malady of insanity Every sentence drags on indefinitely convoluted with meandering nothingness concerning his ‘eerie’ dream seuences and choc full of nonsensical solipsistic ballyhoo and pagan symbolism believe it or not it may even be worse than what you’re reading right now if you can possibly fathom that The rest of the book isn’t much better The second story ‘Sylvie’ is not surprisingly almost the very same story as ‘Aurelia’ In this variant of the story Nerval is a childhood friendlover of Sylvie and manages to suander any chance of having a life with her through his own dumbass nature A uote from ‘Aurelia’ actually sums up this story rather well “It is too presumptuous to pretend that my state of mid was brought about only by a memory of love Let us say rather that I dressed up with this idea the keenest remorse at a life spent in foolish dissipation a life in which evil had often triumphed and whose errors I did not recognize until I felt the blows of misfortune” I think Nerval’s own words show why he’s such a crappy lover and hopefully illustrate why I couldn’t give a damn about his problems which stem from his wanton indulgences only for him to retrospectively shed tears in self pity The second half of the book manages to decrease in uality This travesty begins with ‘Octavie’ in which Nerval graciously shows us examples of the ‘awesome’ and soul stirring love letters he often brags about creating which only brought to mind the typically pathetic “if I can’t have you I will open a vein” rambling you expect to find scrawled in the journal of a recent high school suicide In ‘Isis’ the reader is mesmerized by Nerval’s trip to Herculaneum; allowing his pagan and occult bullshit to flourish A complete waste of paper follows with ‘The Chimeras’ a collection of poems in both English and French presumably just to prove they rhymed in the native tongue which might be their only saving grace In ‘Pandora’ our man Nerval once again makes an ass out of himself and the book finally concludes with ‘Walks and Memories’ which I actually found to be the pick of the litter and the only story to make me crack a smile Of course it might not be coincidental that I also realized the book was drawing to a close at this point

  5. Castor Luwian says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed most of this collection particularly Aurélia and Sylvie Nerval is truly a Romantic; he expresses an often childlike sensitivity to life a purity and naiveté of yearning which is something I really appreciated the absence of vanity in his writing; the ring of truth He is always inebriated with wistful longing and it's easy to get carried away with himThere is a strong melancholic undercurrent to his observations on internal life his romanticizations and the external world The obscure confusion the pathos and the spiritual hope that permeate these writings is very lucid and very pungent I see why Breton considers Nerval's writings the measuring stick for the surreal; there is truly something both lucid and dreamlike about Nerval's writings The dreamy pungency is what I most appreciated and despite the obscurity and dreaminess of Nerval's spiritual experiences there is something intimately human about these writings; and when it's all finished with a kind of wilted sadness

  6. Patrick says:

    Aurelia so enthralled me the first time I read it I immediately went back to it and read it again I had to make sure I had not imagined reading it There are ideas about dreams and insanity in this book that I have been exploring and attempting to digest in my own writing for years At once it seemed both familiar and strange This is a major wellspring for some later surrealist writings namely Breton’s Nadja and Aragon’s Paris Peasant Also there is the translation of Sylvie in the Exact Change edition which I could have done without parts of but there is a very evocative scene when the narrator and Sylvie dress up and play make believe in a peasant’s wedding costume Romantic surreal pastoral wondrous

  7. Richard says:

    As close as you can get to watching a person go insane which means it's a wince fest Some amazing prose like for instance the first paragraph Last pages of this autobiographical novel were found in Nerval's pocket as he was dangling from the wooden beam he hanged himself from Those surrealists

  8. Mitch says:

    The ultimate poet's poet Nerval merges his dream world with the world we all share in these prose pieces bringing about a kind of romantic apocalypse Gorgeous and harrowing at the same time the delicate pubescent longing of Sylvie becomes the cosmic eschatological last one standing narrative of Aurelia Way out there Not for everybody though Some might find his romanticism a bit much Not me It is just right Blinding

  9. Darin says:

    I wish everyone would read this book

  10. Tess says:

    Written as a novella but pure poetry

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