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Carl Jung: Gerard De Nerval

Symbolic Life

Gerard de Nerval (pseudonym of Gerard Labrunie, 1808-1853) was a the Poet and translator of Goethe and Heine.

He is best known by his posthumously published novel Amelia, in which he relates the history of his anima and at the same time of his psychosis.

The dream at the beginning, of a vast edifice and the fatal fall of a winged daemon, deserves special attention.

The dream has no lysis.

The daemon represents the self, which no longer has any room to unfold its wings.

The disastrous event preceding the dream is the projection of the anima upon “une personne ordinaire de notre siecle,” with whom the poet was unable to work on the mysterium and in consequence jilted Aurelia.

Thus he lost his “pied a terre” and the collective unconscious could break in.

His psychotic experiences are largely descriptions of archetypal figures.

During his psychosis the real Aurelia appears to have died, so that his last chance of connecting the unconscious with reality, and of assimilating its archetypal contents, vanished.

The poet ended by suicide. The MS of Aurelia was found on his body. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 789