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Sea-bathing in Nerval’s Octavie

In Gérard de Nerval’s poignant novella Octavie he describes how he met the “daughter of the waters” Octavie in Marseilles: “Every morning I went sea-bathing at Château-Vert and saw the laughing isles of the gulf far off as I swam. Every day too I met a young English girl in the azure bay whose nimble / agile / slender body parted the green water near me.” “Nimble”, “agile” and “slender” are all translations of Nerval’s word délié when it is used in a literary way. The basic meanings of the verb délier are to untie, to free or to loosen. … Continue Reading