Research from Article:
Gerard De Nerval, Sylvie
Gerard de Nerval’s Sylvie is a short novella composed in fourteen vignettes or chapters. The main topic is sexual: the un-named narrator recounts different encounters of love and longing for many women. In every case, his passion is unanswered, unreciprocated, unreturned or unfulfilled. The logic of the narrative seems, sometimes, almost dream-like: the title-character, Sylvie, is usually presented like a childhood appreciate of the narrator, and his relationships with her in the present-tense narrative appear almost like a memory cartoon and taken for fact. The other unattainable women in the account, Adrienne and Aurelia, will be almost blurry together at times – it seems like difficult to tell if, in fact , they can be two individual women. Section of the difficulty is that Aurelia is a great actress – images of theatricality are all around in Nerval’s story, and point to the bigger question of instability or performativity of private identity. The concluding instant of the account features the narrator acquiring Sylvie to see Aurelia carry out onstage, looking to have Sylvie confirm that Aurelia is, actually Adrienne. Rather Sylvie discloses that Adrienne died in a nunnery time before. The narrator provides, of course , attempted to conflate those two possibilities previous in the story, but refused the conflation as being for some reason a sign of madness or perhaps unreality:
To love a nun in the guise of an actress! And what if we were holding one as well as the same! That possibility brings about madness, but it really is a great inevitable instinct – the unknown beckons like the will-o’-the-wisp fading throughout the rushes within a still pool area. But we have to cling to realities. (III)
The conclusion of the novella seems to show Sylvie’s verification that the narrator’s romantic obsessions are, in fact , a form of craziness. She will not indicate the actress Aurelia resembles the nun Adrienne at all.
Another curious part of the strange dream-logic of Sylvie is the way in which the narrator’s sights of the girls in the story are mediated by preceding narratives, both equally mythological and literary. In a few sense, the logic of being-as-roleplaying that may be inherent in the description of theatrical behaving that begins and ends Sylvie appears to extend to the constant allusiveness, which amounts from explanations of questionnable goddesses (as with the Isis of Apuleius, referenced early in the tale) or the imaginative representation of those (as in paintings simply by Watteau and Greuze invoked within Nerval’s text) towards the more clearly literary points