Gérard de Nerval’s multifaceted exploration of the unconscious, including his studies of mysticism, alchemy, Cabala, and theosophy (among others) have earned comparisons with a wide variety of writers with related interests in mental and metaphysical states. These include Charles Baudelaire; the Symbolists, including Stéphane Mallarmé and Arthur Rimbaud; and Edgar Allan Poe. Twentieth-century figures who cite his direct influence include the artist Joseph Cornell and Surrealist André Breton.
While Aurelia was long evaluated as autobiography, later interpretations pay more attention to its experimental literary qualities and to the construction of a narrator who the author has deliberately constructed as an alternate persona. Jungian theory is gaining more attention in regard to Nerval’s use in Aurelia of archetypes of collective unconscious, such as magna mater, the great mother, and the alternating symbols of fury and temptation (see Sadowsky 1993).
Porter, Laurence M. 1976. “Mourning and Melancholia in Nerval's ‘Aurélia’” Studies in Romanticism 15(2): 289-306. DOI: 10.2307/25600012. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25600012
Sadowsky, Rochelle. 1993. “The Writer as Alchemist: Gérard de Nerval's Aurelia.” Myth & Symbol 1(1): 102-118. https://doi.org/10.1080/10223829308565848
The following works cited in the eNotes Study Guide include Aurelia.
Jones, Robert Emmet. 1974. Gérard de Nerval. New York: Twayne.
Knapp, Bettina L. 1980. Gérard de Nerval: The Mystic’s Dilemma. University: University of Alabama Press.
Rinsler, Norma. 1973. Gérard de Nerval. London: Athlone Press.