Gérard de Nerval – The Tale of Caliph Hakim


Joy and revolution

An extremely fascinating long story, which mixes Christian culture and “The Arabian Nights” into a crucible of familiar references while avoiding sterility and imitation. A captivatingly thrilling plot which gives us food for thought and has the further merit of legitimising hashish, without giving it a negative and moralistic connotation. A tale which still manages to speak to both the mind and the heart of the contemporary reader, and in which the protagonist struggles to bring about social progress in a time and place ruled by personal interests, where the ordinary people are exploited and oppressed: really unexpected topics in an early nineteenth-century writer.

Translation by Stefano Bragato (edited by Roma O’Flaherty)