by Jae, October 18, 2010 3:07 PM
Philosopher Gaston Bachelard published The Poetics of Space in 1958, many years into a prolific and prestigious career in science and French academe. A rationalist who believed rational thought was an ill-fitting framework for exploring the imagination, dream worlds, and poetics, Bachelard was nevertheless intensely interested in exactly these realms. In this book, he proposes a rethinking of space based on lived experience, risen from one's intimate experiences in/with them. His phenomenology of architecture, then, is most concerned with the house (or its alter ego, the dream house), the nest, corner nooks, and the inner cove of a seashell. Bachelard addresses these spaces, winningly, with fondness: "Wardrobes with their shelves, desks with their drawers, and chests with their false bottoms are veritable organs of the secret psychological life. Indeed, without these 'objects' and a few others in equally high favor, our intimate life would lack a model of intimacy....Does there exist a single dreamer of words who does not respond to the word wardrobe?" Though Bachelard is not the most casual read, I highly recommend this dense text for pragmatics, poets, and any of us with a penchant for the leaning tower of the literary postmodern.