"Gerard de Nerval (1808-1855), a contemporary of Poe, De Quincey, Gogol and Heine, introduced into French literature a mode of writing rooted in German romanticism yet already recognizably modernist in its explorations of the uncertain borderlines between dream and reality, irony and madness, autobiography and fiction."--BOOK JACKET. "This selection of writings - the first such comprehensive gathering to appear in English - provides an overview of Nerval's work as a poet, belletrist, short-story writer and autobiographer. In addition to 'Aurelia', the memoir of his madness, 'Sylvie' (considered a 'masterpiece' by Proust), and the hermetic sonnets of 'The Chimeras', this volume includes Nerval's Doppelganger tales and experimental fictions. Selections from his correspondence demonstrate a lucid awareness of the strategies by which nineteenth-century psychiatry consigned his visionary imagination to the purgatory of mental illness."--BOOK JACKET.