STUDI E RICERCHE: « Ce “rêve d’une ombre” qu’on appelle le théâtre ». Nerval aux Funambules

Elena Mazzoleni

Founded in 1816 on the Boulevard du Temple and destroyed in 1862, on the occasion of Haussmann's works, the Funambules Theatre is a privileged meeting place for a generation of intellectuals, such as Flaubert, Gautier and Nodier. They are all charmed by the mime Deburau and perceive in his character, Pierrot, the incarnation of the concerns of their time. Gérard de Nerval, who is fascinated by the pantomime topics and is persuaded of the aesthetic value of this genre, elaborates the "funambulist" themes and styles in a creative way: he turns them into literary material. L’Alchimiste (1839), a drama in five acts written in collaboration with Alexandre Dumas, and L’Imagier d’Harlem ou la découverte de l’imprimerie (1852), a drama-legend à grand spectacle, give evidence of the affinity between the authors’ works and the Funambules repertory.