Gerard de Nerval's pet lobster - QI - Series 10 Episode 5 - BBC Two
Gerard de Nervals 'Sylvie' - illusion versus reality
Souvenirs du Valois , published in , is an exploration of time and memory, dream and reality. The narrator of Sylvie is unreliable because his perspective is severely distorted. Sometimes his memory fails him and he does not understand his own motives and behaviour, which is both passive and impulsive at the same time. The story he tells us is about himself and only himself, because he has little understanding of the people around him. In order to find an answer, first we have to look at the specific aspects that he is deluded about. And if we believe conscious choosing between illusion and reality to be possible then this must certainly be a case of such a choice. Thus what may have gone on to be a tale of self-discovery from this point ends as a tale of self-deceit.
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His later work merged poetry and journalism in a fictional context and influenced Marcel Proust. This was also where he began to take poetry more seriously. He was especially drawn to epic poetry. At age 19, with minimal knowledge of the German language, he began the ambitious task of translating Goethe 's Faust. Despite its many flaws, the translation had many merits, and it did a great deal to establish his poetic reputation. He took a job at a notary's office, but his heart was set on literature.
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