The Alchemy of Time in Nerval, Rilke and Blake's Works


  • Michelle Joly


In this 'proliferation without centre' of modernity (Musil), are there forms of writing that have the power to transmute Western culture because of their transcendental vision of man and the universe? How could the mythical archetypes woven in the poetry of Nerval, Rilke and Blake be the 'athanor' for the new soul of the Western world after the extreme end of nihilism reached by the faustian 'degenerated race' (Trakl)? Time, as in Jungian synchronicity, plays in the works of these poets, the role of a 'crucible' where the disjointed polarities (Earth/Sky, Time/Eternity, Matter/Spirit ... ) recover their unity within the invisible centre of the quaternity of the elements. Poetry therefore intensifies in these works until it reaches the 'unique point where the dreadful coincides with the Supreme', which as an emptiness is also 'the depth of Being' (Rilke).