Celestial Stars/Water Stars: Gérard de Nerval's <i>Sylvie</i>

Rodolphe Gasché

in The Stelliferous Fold

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234349
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241279 | DOI:
Celestial Stars/Water Stars: Gérard de Nerval's Sylvie

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The chapter examines Gérard de Nerval's novella Sylvie. It argues that the attention paid to the literary work's self-reflection and staged self-writing is not just one of the accomplishments of romanticism, since this discovery also comes with a price. By linking writing exclusively to this reflexive self-weaving of texts, romanticism, indeed, also amounts to a powerful attempt to master writing, limiting its straying and errancy, by circumscribing the text's structure of referral primarily as one of self-referral. Sylvie, indeed, proves to be a mixture of old and new, of real and representation, of autobiography and fiction, of Christianity and paganism, of folk poetry and philosophy, of lyricism and drama, and so on. In trying to analyze such a mixture, this chapter aims to pinpoint that which hinders this mixture from being a true synthesis of each of the elements combined in this chemical mixture.

Keywords: Gérard de Nerval; Sylvie; self-reflection; self-writing; romanticism; self-weaving

Chapter.  11896 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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