Gérard de Nerval , the French writer and translator associated with vie orientales published in and , then in Voyage en Orient in Voyage En Orient. Gerard De Nerval. Voyage En Orient. Format. Paperback. Publisher. Gallimard Education. Country. United States. Published. 1 March Voyage En Orient, Vol. 2: Les Nuits Du Ramazan, Et, de Paris a Cythère-Lorely Classic Reprint: : Gerard De Nerval: Books.


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The Middle East, where he travelled from topolarised his aesthetic and spiritual quest during his entire life. He also depicted a Paris which was as working-class as it was disturbing, as well as the Valois of his childhood.

Journey to the Orient

However, it was the Middle East that focused his aesthetic and spiritual quest during his entire life: His itinerary led him to Greece, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey. Before his suicide on 26 Januarythe writer was planning another stay in the lands of the Middle East.

This exceptional document was mentioned for the first time by Aristide Marie in The veiled beauties are like graceful and coquettish nuns who, though they have consecrated themselves to the service of a single spouse, yet do not think it amiss gerard de nerval voyage en orient spare an occasional thought for the world.

Egypt, serious and devout, is still the land of enigmas and mysteries.

Journey to the Orient by Gérard de Nerval

There, beauty surrounds itself, as it has ever done, with veils and coverings, a depressing habit that soon discourages the frivolous European. To the initiate of ancient days, patience was the greatest of all virtues. Why should we be in such a hurry?

Besides, though we are in a land where women are supposed to be prisoners, we see thousands of them in the bazaars, streets, and gardens, strolling alone or in couples, or with a child. In actual fact, they enjoy more liberty than European women.

Gérard de Nerval | Patrimoines Partagés تراث مشترك

It is true that women of position go out, perched up on donkeys, where nobody can get at them; but even in our own land, women of a corresponding rank hardly ever go gerard de nerval voyage en orient except gerard de nerval voyage en orient a carriage.

Among the rich Arabic and Turkish costumes which the reform movement has spared, the mysterious dress of the women gives to the crowd which throngs the streets the lively appearance of a fancy dress ball, though the shade of the dominoes only varies between black and blue.

Ladies of distinction veil their forms beneath a habbarah of light silk, and women of the people wear a simple tunic of wool or cotton khamisswith all the grace of an ancient statue. There is scope for the imagination in this disguise, and it does not extend to all their charms.


Beautiful hands adorned with talismanic rings, and silver bracelets; sometimes alabasterlike arms escaping from the broad sleeves pulled back over the shoulder; bare feet, laden with rings, which leave their slippers at every step, while the heels clatter along with a silvery tinkle — all these we may admire, divine, surprise, without annoying the crowd, or causing any embarrassment to the woman herself.

Sometimes, the folds of the veil, with its white and blue check, which gerard de nerval voyage en orient the head, and shoulders, get slightly out of position, and the light, passing between it and the long mask which they call borghot, gives us a gerard de nerval voyage en orient of a charming brow over which the brown hair falls in closely bound ringlets, like those we have seen in busts of Cleopatra; or a tiny, well-shaped ear, from which clusters of golden sequins, or a jewel of turquoise and silver filigree, dangle over cheeks and neck.

The mask is made of a narrow long piece of black horsehair, and it falls from head to feet, pierced by two holes, like the hooded cloak of a penitent.

Voyage En Orient

A few tiny bright rings are threaded in the space between the forehead and the long gerard de nerval voyage en orient of the mask, and from behind that rampart, ardent eyes await you, with all the seductions they can borrow from art. When I first came here, I did not quite understand what the attraction could be about the mystery with which the more interesting half of the people of the Orient enshrouds itself.

But a few days sufficed to show me that a woman who knows herself to be the object of attention can usually find an opportunity to let herself be seen if she is beautiful.

Those who are not beautiful are wiser to retain their veils, and we cannot be angry with them on that account.

Voyage en Orient / par M. Gérard de Nerval | National Library of Australia

This is indeed the country of dreams and of illusions. The town itself, like those who dwell in it, unveils its most shady retreats, its most delightful interiors, only by degrees.

The evening I arrived at Cairo, I felt mortally discouraged and depressed. Wandering about on donkeyback with a dragoman for company, a few hours sufficed to make me sure that I was about to spend the most tedious six months of all my life, and matters had been arranged in such a gerard de nerval voyage en orient that I could not stay a single day less.

What could I hope from this confused labyrinth, perhaps as large as Paris or Rome; from these palaces and mosques which are to be numbered in thousands?