The Poetics of Space
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The Poetics of Space

By (author) Gaston Bachelard , Foreword by Etienne Gilson , Foreword by John Stilgoe

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Thirty years since its first publication in English, French philosopher Gaston Bachelard's "Poetics of Space" remains one of the most appealing and lyrical explorations of home. Bachelard takes us on a journey, from cellar to attic, to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams.

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  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 25.4mm | 340.19g
  • 01 Apr 1994
  • Beacon Press
  • Boston, MA
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0807064734
  • 9780807064733
  • 2,195

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Author Information

Gaston Bachelard (1884-1963) is the author of" The Poetics of Space," "The Psychoanalysis of Fire," and "The New Scientific Spirit"

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Review quote

A magical book. . . . A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics to carpentry take on enhanced-and enchanted-significances. Every reader of it will never see ordinary spaces in ordinary ways. Instead the reader will see with the soul of the eye, the glint of Gaston Bachelard. -from the foreword by John R. Stilgoe

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Review text

When an established philosopher of science suddenly turns all his efforts to the realm of art, something new and a little different is bound to be the written result. This study is the sixth of Bachelard's unconventional excursions into the ?? and being of the poetic image. (Other titles include The Psychoanalysis of Fire, Air and Revery.) He calls it a "phenomenological" inquiry into the origins of consciousness where an image suddenly appears as a "phenomenon," real and convincing in itself. For him, a house, an attic, a shell, a nest are not metaphors signifying something else, but full-blown images that spring spontaneously from ("that outmoded word") the soul. Here he is concerned with the images of "felicitous space": the house that means so much because it "allows one to dream in peace"; the nooks and corners ("to curl up is part of the verb, to inhabit"); miniature images like Tom Thumb; immense space; doors and their relation to the dialectic of within and without. All of these things attract us in life as well as in their constant appearances in poetry, abundant examples of which are quoted here, mostly from the French. Bachelard offers a consummate "collection of daydreams," some of them so obvious once he points them out that the reader soon starts on his own excursion into the "sites of his intimate life," Unfortunately, this heavily philosophical work doesn't digest easily enough for general reading. A valuable far-out contemplation of the familiar. (Kirkus Reviews)

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