Nerval's "Les Illumines" (1852) has often been seen as a problem text, and as a strange supplement to his masterpieces "Les Chimeres", "Les Filles du feu", and "Aurelia". In this first book-length study, in English or French, of "Les Illumines", Meryl Tyers argues that it is a complex work of art in its own right and that its originality has been obscured by the tangled publishing history of its individual narratives. Tyers re-examines that history and provides a complete documentary basis for critical discussion of the work. She also traces the critical response from the earliest reviews through to the scholarly editions and studies of the present day. Tyers's own critical reading pays particular attention to 'La Bibliotheque de mon oncle', Nerval's intriguing preface. By investigating in detail those fragmentary structures and varying themes that may at first make the unity of "Les Illumines" seem elusive, she is able to show that subtle integrative mechanisms are at work in a volume that deserves to be placed among the highest achievements of this incomparable poet.