Gerard de Nerval

(1808-1855 / France)

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Gérard de Nerval (May 22, 1808 – January 26, 1855) was the nom-de-plume of the French poet, essayist and translator Gérard Labrunie, one of the most essentially Romantic French poets.

Two years after his birth in Paris, his mother died in Silesia while accompanying her husband, a military doctor, a member of Napoleon's Grande Armée. He was brought up by his maternal great-uncle, Antoine... more »

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Quotations

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  • It has been rightly said that nothing is unimportant, nothing powerless in the universe; a single atom can dissolve everything, and save everything! What terror! There lies the eternal distinction bet...
    Gérard De Nerval (1808-1855), French novelist, poet. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. and trans. by Geoffrey Wagner (1958). Aurélia, pt. 2, ch. 6 (1855...
  • ''Our dreams are a second life. I have never been able to penetrate without a shudder those ivory or horned gates which separate us from the invisible world.''
    Gérard De Nerval (1808-1855), French novelist, poet. Aurélia, pt. 1, ch. 1 (1855).
  • The first moments of sleep are an image of death; a hazy torpor grips our thoughts and it becomes impossible for us to determine the exact instant when the "I," under another form, continues the task ...
    Gérard De Nerval (1808-1855), French novelist, poet. Aurélia, pt. 1, ch. 1 (1855).
  • ''When the soul drifts uncertainly between life and the dream, between the mind's disorder and the return to cool reflection, it is in religious thought that we should seek consolation.''
    Gérard De Nerval (1808-1855), French novelist, poet. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. and trans. by Geoffrey Wagner (1958). Aurélia, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1855...
  • ''"The tree of knowledge is not the tree of life!" And yet can we cast out of our spirits all the good or evil poured into them by so many learned generations? Ignorance cannot be learned.''
    Gérard De Nerval (1808-1855), French novelist and poet. repr. In Selected Writings, ed. and trans. by Geoffrey Wagner (1958). Aurélia, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1...
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