Théophile Gautier's 'Albertus' and Thematics of Nailing

The images of nailing that open and close the poem "Albertus" and recur at important points in this and others of Gautier's writings sybolize aspects of finality, fixity, and death while, paradoxically, also raising questions of mutability and metamorphosis and ultimately of life and art. They relate to a complex of themes dear to Gautier – the interplay of performance and disintegration, of revelation and hiddenness, of composition and decomposition, of freedom and judgement – and thus thematically link "Albertus" to "La Comédie de la mort," Arria Marcella, Les Grotesques, and several poems in the collection Emaux et camées.
Vest, James. M
Volume 1992 Spring-Summer; 20(3-4): 317-28