Thanksgiving Is Ruined
September 30, 2014
On Nerval's mad library
This is TiR's very favorite passage from Aurélia, written around 1853-4:
(above translation taken from this)
Mind you, Nerval is describing the decor of his room in a lunatic asylum. He claims his possessions in this chamber -- "an odd interior composed of palace and hovel" -- to include also a canopy bed, ornate 17th and 18th century furnishings with porcelain inlays, a crystal vase, a hookah pipe, wood paneling from his former home, oil paintings, a huge map of Cairo, and twenty years worth of various other personal momentos.
The reader at first may assume with some justification that the writer is madly hallucinating it all, as he has so much already throughout his book-journal.
Arthur Symons, in his The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899), laid into Nerval and his library:
(Symon's whole book as .txt file = here)
Symons says this like it's a bad thing?