First published as a sprawling feuilleton in the newspaper Le National in 1850, The Salt Smugglers was political and topical. With nods to Diderot and Sterne, this protean, digressive satire deals less with contraband salt and more with questions of subversion, transgression, censorship and marginality. Never-before-translated into English and never published as a free-standing volume, The Salt Smugglers is an unearthed pre-postmodern gem.
Poet, storyteller, autobiographer, translator, and visionary, GUrard de Nerval (1808-55) explored the blurry boundaries between dream and reality, fact and fiction, imagination and madness in his groundbreaking writings. Nerval was a pioneering modernist, a precursor of the French Symbolists, and a vital influence on writers such as Marcel Proust, AndrU Breton, and Antonin Artaud. His works include Voyage en Orient ( Journey to the Orient), Sylvie - which Umberto Eco deemed a "masterpiece," Les Filles du Feu (The Daughters of Fire), Les IlluminUs (The Illuminati), and AurUlia - which opens with "Dream is a second life." Richard Sieburth's translations include GUrard de Nerval's Selected Writings, Friedrich Holderlin's Hymns and Fragments, Walter Benjamin's Moscow Diary, Henri Michaux's Emergences/ Resurgences and Stroke by Stroke, GUrard de Nerval's The Salt Smugglers, Michel Leiris' Nights as Day, Days as Night, and Gershom Scholem's The Fullness of Time- Poems. His edition of Nerval's Selected Writings won the 2000 PEN/Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize. His recent translation of Maurice Scove's DUlie was a finalist for the PEN Translation Prize and the Weidenfeld Prize.