Last night, at 4am, I found myself crying in the dark. The tears, which today I find shameful, were so unexpected as to seem unreal. If only I had shown her the same consideration when she would have happily pandered to my every affectionate whim. Earlier in the day I had tried to reach out to her, and she had slapped away my hand. Perhaps in the sphere of reality, with all its flaws and faults, its awkwardnesses and disappointments, I could shed some of the layers of my love.
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Sylvie is a kind of idyll written in the form of memoirs and reminiscence, where the story surrounds around the narrator who loves three different women, all of whom he loses in the quest for ideal love. The novella is a token and hymn to the unattainable and unrequited love, which the protagonist yearns forever. Various eminent and scholarly critics have praised this novella for its lucid and transparent lyrical style oozing with profuse poetic sensibility.
Throughout the main action of the plot, Nerval employs the technique of flashback and then suddenly reverting Vol. Thus the whole perspective seems wholly misleading and baffling for the reader at first because of its regular consistency in shifting back and forth between past and present.
The story commences with the narrator enjoying the plays at a theatre. He is completely enchanted by an actress of the theatre named Aurelie. Suddenly the narrator gets reminded of an image from a distant memory from his childhood and experiences a flashback. How often, in the border-land of dreams, while yet the mind repels their encroaching fancies, we are enabled to review in a few moments, the important events of a lifetime!. There the narrator also sees another girl Adrienne, who was of noble status, tall and blonde and eventually falls in love with her.
I loved but her, I had eyes but for her—till then! I had scarcely noticed in our round, a tall, beautiful blonde, called Adrienne, when suddenly, in following the figures of the dance, she was left alone with me, in the centre of the ring; we were of the same height, and they bade me kiss her, while the dance and song went whirling on, more merrily than before..
He was completely enchanted by her subtle but distinctive beauty. During the course of the action, the narrator comes to know of the fatal fact that Adrienne has ultimately become a nun. Heart-broken, the narrator knowing that Adrienne is unattainable goes back to Paris to continue his studies, but his heart still pines for Adrienne- His unrequited love. In the vacation of the following year, I learned that this lovely girl, who had but flitted past me, was destined by her family to a religious life Nerval conceived the story where dream and reality merge into one another.
It is the conglomeration of metaphysical dimensions of conflict between reality and ideal. The narrator throughout the novella is in the eternal quest for Ideal love and he struggles with his love for mythical female personae respectively Aurelie-Adrienne and a reality in the form of peasant girl Sylvie. Let us keep a firm foothold on reality.
Suddenly the narrative act takes a different turn by clinging to the realities far away from the whimsical lands of dreaming into the improbable confines of the past. His fluctuating and inconsistent mind races back again to the real love in the form of Sylvie and gets entwined in her thoughts. She was a charming girl, the prettiest maiden in Loisy; surely she still lives, pure and good. The maiden was sitting Beside the swift stream.
Nerval 12 The narrator returns to Sylvie after many years and spends a considerable amount of time with her under the possible expectation of attracting her love for him. As they pass by a monastery, the narrator happens to mention the name of Adrienne much to the utter dismay of Sylvie. Ah, well! The narrator again goes to Paris and in due course returns to Sylvie and spends a day socializing at a village elderly household.
However nothing positive comes out of it for the narrator in terms of his love with Sylvie. Dejected, he again returns to Paris. Suddenly the whole narrative and time frame shifts focus from Sylvie to the actress Aurelie.
In the garden scene she was sublime The narrator, ultimately realizing that Sylvie has also eluded him in the prospect of being his love, he passionately pursues Aurelie with more aggressive vigor. A glance from her had arrested me on the verge of the abyss, and henceforth I enshrined her as a smiling goddess in the Temple of Wisdom. The narrator sees her as an ideal illusion soon waning in the realms of stark reality. Ultimately Aurelie ends her brief relationship with the narrator specifying the cause as her lost faith in his unpredictable love.
She listened with Vol. You expect me to say 'the actress and the nun are the same'; you are merely arranging a drama and the issue of the plot is lacking.
I no longer believe in you. The narrator dejected again returns to Sylvie. Upon his arrival he hears about her marriage and who is now a mother of two. He asks her about Adrienne to which Sylvie with a sigh of self-reproach reveals that Adrienne is dead for many years- a fatal revelation. Kari Lokke summarized the message in Sylvie: "Paradoxically Chambers It is as if beneath the core of present, there lays never ending tales of layers of time. Each one of those is dependent on the events preceding them that have a formidable effect on the aftermath.
Proust The narrator seems to reconstruct a moment of time, experienced as a memory but unable to rediscover it in future resulting in long lost nostalgia. The attempt to recapture the past with Sylvie proved futile though it is elaborate on the part of the narrator, as when his return to Loisy reveals that all is changed.
Riatt This indicates that the time has come to a stop: he has no watch and his renaissance watch does not work. Amongst a profusion of ornaments, which it was then the fashion to collect, in order to restore the local colour of an old-time interior, there gleamed with freshly polished lustre, one of those tortoise-shell clocks of the Renaissance, whose gilded dome, surmounted by a figure of Time, was supported by caryatides in the style of the Medici, resting in their turn upon rearing steeds.
The historic Diana, leaning upon her stag, was in bas- Vol. The works, no doubt excellent, had not been put in motion for two centuries. It was not to tell the hour that I bought this time- piece in Touraine.
The world of Sylvie, in all its vague appearances, is a world in which nothing is what one expects. At the end of the novella the reader is in constant perplexity as to what might have happened to the narrator. Sylvie is an intricate framework where nature of nostalgia is examined and where past and present, Ideal and Reality and Time and Timelessness meets and are reconciled.
Works Cited: Chambers, Ross. The Modern Language Review, Vol. Faulkner, William. Knopf Doubleday Publishing group. Lokke, Kari. French Forum Monographs Lexington, KY: French Forum, Nerval, Gerard De.
Sylvie: Souvenirs Du Valois. Lucie Page. Edited by P. Clarac and Y. Paris, The Modern Language review, Vol. Wikipedia contributors. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 Aug. I Issue IV November, 5. Related Papers.
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Sylvie by Gérard de Nerval, 1854
Of all that were thy prisons--ah, untamed, Ah, light and sacred soul! And they would smile and wonder, seeing where Thou stood'st, to watch light leaves, or clouds, or wind, Dreamily murmuring a ballad air, Caught from the Valois peasants, dost thou find A new life gladder than the old times were, A love more fair than Sylvie, and as kind? Two loves there were, and one was born Between the sunset and the rain; Her singing voice went through the corn, Her dance was woven 'neath the thorn, On grass the fallen blossoms stain; And suns may set and moons may wane, But this love comes no more again. There were two loves, and one made white Thy singing lips and golden hair; Born of the city's mire and light, The shame and splendour of the night, She trapped and fled thee unaware; Not through the lamplight and the rain Shalt thou behold this love again. Go forth and seek, by wood and bill, Thine ancient love of dawn and dew; There comes no voice from mere or rill, Her dance is over, fallen still The ballad burdens that she knew: And thou must wait for her in vain, Till years bring back thy youth again. That other love, afield, afar Fled the light love, with lighter feet.
This is the case both in a host of allusions and references that are never more than rather transparently disguised, precisely as if to invite the reader to penetrate them, and in the tone, spirit, and intellectual orientation of the tale. Owing much to observation and experience, "Sylvie" also hovers on the brink of a dreamworld made up of personal reminiscence and artistic predilections, so that we are introduced to a curiously unstructured but nonetheless intoxicatingly seductive amalgam of the present and the past, the real and the imagined. Everything is interpreted in terms of the cultural revolution taking place in France after the time of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Here we do indeed find much that is individual to Nerval himself, but "Sylvie" is likewise testimony to the extent to which his own attitude and outlook were themselves shaped by his reading. The structure of "Sylvie" serves to transport us farther and farther into the past. The first of the story's 14 short sections takes us from the present, the s, to an earlier period in the narrator's life when he frequented the Parisian theaters, not so much to enjoy the plays as to pay silent homage from afar to the leading actress.