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Supernaturalism may refer to the supernatural, but also to a term of art employed by Gérard de Nerval in his dedication to Les Filles du feu.

André Breton mentioned the influence of Nerval in the first Surrealist Manifesto:

"À plus juste titre encore, sans doute aurions-nous pu nous emparer du mot SUPERNATURALISME, employé par Gérard de Nerval dans la dédicace des Filles du feu."


To bestow a yet more appropriate title on it, we could no doubt have appropriated the word SUPERNATURALISM, employed by Gérard de Nerval in the dedication to his Girls of Fire (Filles du feu, 1854) and also by Thomas Carlyle in Sartor Resartus (Book III, Chapter VIII, ‘Natural Supernaturalism’). It seems, in fact, that Nerval possessed to a marvellous degree that spirit with which we claim kinship. [...] Here are two passages by Nerval which seem particularly significant in this regard:
‘I will explain to you, my dear Dumas, the phenomenon of which you spoke earlier. There are, you know, certain story-tellers who cannot invent without identifying with their imaginary characters. You may recall how convincingly our old friend Nodier told us of his misfortune in being guillotined during the Revolution; we were so convinced by it, we asked him how he had managed to set his head back on his neck again.’
‘…And since you have been imprudent enough to have quoted one of the sonnets composed in this SUPERNATURALISTIC reverie, as the Germans say, you will have to hear them all. You will find them at the end of this volume. They are scarcely more obscure than Hegel’s metaphysics or Swedenborg’s MEMORABILIA (1766), and would lose their charm if explained, if the latter were possible, at least concede the value of the expression…’ (See also the term idéoréalisme in Saint-Pol-Roux)
-- The Surrealist Manifesto, 1924[1]

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