In his earlier book, The Poetics of Space, Bachelard considered several kinds of "praiseworthy space" conducive to the flow of poetic imagery. In Poetics of Reverie he considers the absolute origins of that imagery: language, sexuality, childhood, the Cartesian ego, and the universe. Approaching the psychology of wonder from the phenomenological viewpoint, Bachelard demonstrates the aurgentative potential of all that awareness. Thus he distinguishes what is merely a phenomenon of relaxation from the kind of reverie which "poetry puts on the right track, the track of expanding consciousness". Our Lists.
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Gaston Bachelard — is one of the most wonderful — literally: full of wonder — philosophers of the twentieth century, yet one of the most underappreciated. In poetry, wonder is coupled with the joy of speech… The poetic image is in no way comparable, as with the mode of the common metaphor, to a valve which would open up to release pent-up instincts.
The poetic image sheds light on consciousness in such a way that it is pointless to look for subconscious antecedents of the image… Poetry is one of the destinies of speech. In trying to sharpen the awareness of language at the level of poems, we get the impression that we are touching the man whose speech is new in that it is not limited to expressing ideas or sensations, but tries to have a future.
One would say that poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language. And yet he makes a necessary distinction between reverie and dreaming:. In contrast to a dream a reverie cannot be recounted.
To be communicated, it must be written , written with emotion and taste, being relived all the more strongly because it is being written down.
Written love … is going out of fashion, but the benefits remain. There are still souls for whom love is the contact of two poetries, the fusion of two reveries… To tell a love, one must write… Love is never finished expressing itself, and it expresses itself better the more poetically it is dreamed. The reveries of two solitary souls prepare the sweetness of loving… The reality of love is mutilated when it is detached from all its unrealness.
One might wonder whether there really is a consciousness of dreams. A dream can be so strange that it seems that another subject has come to dream with us.
To convince ourselves that they are really ours, we must reinhabit these dreams. Afterwards we make up accounts of them, stories from another time, adventures from another world… The teller of dreams sometimes enjoys his dream as an original work. It is a reported conviction which is reinforced each time he retells the dream.
There is certainly no identity between the subject who is telling and the subject who dreamed. Even more powerfully, dream and reverie conspire together to form a gateway to happiness. Bachelard writes:.
Reverie illustrates repose for a being… it illustrates well-being. The dreamer and his reverie enter totally into the substance of happiness. The whole universe comes to contribute to our happiness when reverie comes to accentuate our repose. You must tell the man who wants to dream well to begin by being happy.
Then reverie plays out its veritable destiny; it becomes poetic reverie and by it, in it, everything becomes beautiful. Poetic reverie gives us the world of worlds. Poetic reverie is a cosmic reverie. It is an opening to a beautiful world, to beautiful worlds. It gives the I a non-I which belongs to the I: my non-I. At its highest potentiality, reverie touches on the cosmic, and in doing so, liberates our solitude — that essential capacity to be alone. The cosmic reverie … is a phenomenon of solitude which has its roots in the soul of the dreamer.
Cosmic reveries separate us from project reveries. They situate us in a world and not in a society. The cosmic reverie possesses a sort of stability or tranquility.
It helps us escape time. It is a state. Let us get to the bottom of its essence: it is a state of mind… Poetry supplies us with documents for a phenomenology of the soul. The entire soul is presented in the poetic universe of the poet.
The soul does not live on the edge of time. It finds its rest in the universe imagined by reverie… Cosmic images are possessions of the solitary soul which is the principle of all solitude. Reverie gives us the world of a soul [and] a poetic image bears witness to a soul which is discovering its world, the world where it would like to live and where it deserves to live… Poetry forms the dreamer and his world at the same time.
The Poetics of Reverie is a superb read in its entirety. Complement it with Muriel Rukeyser on how poetry expands our lives , James Dickey on how to read a poem , and Mary Oliver on the secret of great poetry. Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon.
And yet he makes a necessary distinction between reverie and dreaming: In contrast to a dream a reverie cannot be recounted. Click image for more. Bachelard writes: Reverie illustrates repose for a being… it illustrates well-being. Bachelard writes: The cosmic reverie … is a phenomenon of solitude which has its roots in the soul of the dreamer.
Therein lies the greatest gift of poetic reverie: Reverie gives us the world of a soul [and] a poetic image bears witness to a soul which is discovering its world, the world where it would like to live and where it deserves to live… Poetry forms the dreamer and his world at the same time. Share Article Tweet.
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The Poetics Of Reverie
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THE POETICS OF REVERIE
Although Bachelard, who died at the age of seventy-nine in , is considered the father of the French new critics, his Although Bachelard, who died at the age of seventy-nine in , is considered the father of the French new critics, his work is both too bizarre and homespun to bear much relationship with the diagrammatic works of Barthes, Richard, and Starobinski. A professor of the natural sciences and philosophy, Bachelard incorporated these disciplines in his meditations on literature, where the four elements, earth, water, fire, and air, are seen as embodying the creative temperament as well as the basic forms of life: childhood, for instance, ""is a human water, a water which comes out of the shadows,"" the misty world of the emerging personality, while fire is a generative emblem, expressing sexual potency and affectivity. As John Weightman has noted, ""Bachelard's attraction is that he proposes an optimistic hygiene, which seems to be within everyone's scope, and is directly concerned with the intangibles of aesthetic experience,"" so that while his works are a series of phenomenological investigations ""to vibrate phenomenologically"" is his goal , amid all the subtle disquisitions on cosmological and metaphysical themes he stresses ""all those sensations of depth, shape, movement, texture, color, etc. Bachelard's style -- oracular, pacific, paradoxical poetry is ""a sublimation which doesn't sublimate anything"" -- is anathema to the Anglo-Saxon mind; and The Poetics of Reverie is an in-process attempt at a new way of approaching literature ""the reading of poets is essentially reverie"" , erudite, richly suggestive, but vaporous in meaning. Already have an account? Log in.