The Poetics of Space
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The Poetics of Space

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  4,248 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Since its first publication in English in 1964, 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.

"A magical book. . . . The Poetics of Space is a pr...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Beacon Press (first published 1957)
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Josh
I've failed to explain Bachelard to so many people by now that I should know better. I should write some sort of meta-review/hymn/grocery list here, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid to wash the freaking hem of this book.

Probably the best thing I can say about The Poetics of Space is that, in thinking so hard about what makes a poetic image work, it really becomes more of a prose poem than a book of philosophy. Bachelard is trying to understand the "happy mind" - the mind making itself a home everywher...more
Hadrian
This is less a work of systematic philosophy than a daydreamer's scrapbook with lovely poetry snippets pasted in.

Bachelard applies the philosophy of phenomenology to architecture, stating that a house or home is not just a physical thing, but also a place where our memories or thoughts make an impression on it, and shape it even further. He takes further and begins to investigate the meanings of little details in houses, like dressers, corners, and the metaphor of a home as a 'nest' or 'shell'....more
Geoff
“We build within ourselves stone
on stone a vast haunted castle.”

-Vincent Monteiro, Vers sur verre

”Space that has been seized upon by the imagination cannot remain indifferent space subject to the measures and estimates of the surveyor. It has been lived in, not in its positivity, but with all the partiality of the imagination.”
-Bachelard

“A house that stands in my heart
My cathedral of silence
Every morning recaptured in dream
Every evening abandoned
A house covered with dawn
Open to the winds of my
...more
Jonfaith
[W]e are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.

This is not what I expected. The Poetics of Space is not some rigorous discussion of the concept of home or the distinction between inside and outside. This is a meditation. Bachelard prefers "daydream". As one reads, one takes shorthand from the philosopher's imagination. The text is steeped in whimsy and speculation. The citations refer to the poetic, not the p...more
knig
Bachelard offers nothing, and I mean nothing, new in terms of philosophical insight or logical exposition, in ‘Poetics’. Decidedly unoriginal in its portrayal of concepts, associations and representation, this book brings no new angle, no new vista on the dynamics of the house in all its possible permutations: nest, shell ,miniature (doll’s house), accessories included (wardrobe, chests, drawers, locked pendants, etc). Further, Bachelard ired me continuously with well meaning but frankly idiotic...more
بثينة العيسى

هل صحيحٌ ما أوردته الفلسفات الميتافيزيقية ، أن الإنسان ( مقذوفٌ في العالم ) ، مخذول ، متروك للتساؤل في عالمٍ صريح في عدائيته ؟ أم أن ما نسمّيه ( الوجود – هناك ) ليس كابوسياً كما يُصوّر لنا بقدر ما هو مشروع لانفتاح الداخل على الخارج ، لاحتواء العالم عوضاً عن التشظي فيه ؟

إن غاستون باشلار ، كما يتبدى جلياً من خلال الاقتباس السابق يعارض بقوّة ما تضخه الفلسفات الوجودية حول عدائية المكان ، و حتى انفصالية المكان ، حيثُ ” أنا المكان الذي أوجد فيه ” ( نويل آرنو ) ، و حيثُ ” المكان في لا مكان ، إنه في الد...more
Jimmy
It's one of those great books with the rare ability to put into words everything I've always known. *




































* Wittgenstein says "About what one can not speak, one must remain silent." Of course, as a philosopher, he was right. But what is unspeakable is also exactly where poets must venture forth a primitive utterance. Not to fill it up brashly with idle talk, but to consecrate it with voices which will increase the silence. This is why phenomenology as practiced by Bachelard, though a branch of philos...more
Fatema Hassan , bahrain


" جماليات المكان "
للفيلسوف الفرنسي / غاستون باشلار
ترجمة / غالب هلسا

عندما يخرج رجل فلسفة العلوم من جلده ليوقظ عالم تغلب عليه سباته و نسي أن كل المادية التي يتعاطى معها ( بحكم اعتياده عليها ) لازالت تحمل بُعد فني غامض يحتاج لفلسفة مُلحّة تبرز فنيته و التي تُغني ماديته بدورها ، هذا البُعد - المادي - موجود -فينا- لكن توقف نموه بعد الدهشة الأولى التي لازمتنا حين التعرف عليه والاحتكاك به أول مرة، باشلار بعينه الناقدة و ثنائية التفقه الشعري و نزعة التفسير الفلسفية المحايدة يدلنا على سبب تغيير توجهه ال...more
Seham .
إن كنت سأتحدّث عن هذا الكتاب، عليّ أولاً: أن أقوم بعدَّ المرّات التي انتشيت فيها. عليّ هذا، قسرًا. كان أوّل كتاب مع باشلار. إذ إني لم أكنّ أعرف عنه مسبقًا إلاّ بضع اقتباسات، والتي كنتُ استحسنها في موضعها ولم أبادر ولو لمرّة، بالتعرّف إليه، إلاّ عندما ذكره أحد الرفاق "أقول هذا: بامتنان بالغ".
كانت البداية مبهمة، لأنّه يحتاج إلى قليلاً من الجهد حتّى تستطيع استيعاب ما يحاول قوله، لكن هذا في البداية فقط، مع الفصول يتماهى هذا الشعور! ويبدأ الاستمتاع عندما يتخلل بفلسفته إلى كلّ رواية، قصيدة، رسالة ويو...more
طَيْف

مع أول كتاب أقرأه لباشلار، أجد نفسي في عالم قرائي فلسفي فكريّ جديد، أتعرف عليه للمرة الأولى ويجذبني إليه، وإن استعصى عليّ إدراك كل أركانه ومحتوياته...وأبحث عن مزيد من كتبه ومقولاته وأفكاره وآرائه...وأقرأ أكثر عن الظاهراتيّة ومفهومها عند باشلار، وكيف أسقطها على ما يحيط به، وعلى المكان تحديدا في هذا الكتاب

يعد باشلار واحداً من أهم الفلاسفة الفرنسيين ، وهناك من يقول أنه أعظم فيلسوف ظاهراتي ، فقد مثلت أفكاره إضافات مهمة للمنجز الفلسفي الظاهراتي، ولاسيما في حدود انشغاله بالمكان وتكشفاته القيمية والجما
...more
Matt
I can understand why so many people consider The Poetics of Space to be such an important book, but I found it rather uneven. The most interesting section, far and away, is the introduction. Bachelard begins the book by laying out his theory of the poetic image. Unlike metaphor, which is merely an intellectual comparison, the true poetic image causes a deep resonance in the reader. Upon glancing a poetic image for the home, for example, all of the homes of the reader's past well up in his imagi...more
lisa_emily
Sep 24, 2008 lisa_emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers with bookshelves for walls
I was thinking of how to explain why I love reading Bachelard so much, and the best I can come up with for now is my love for his unusually deep way of thinking. This book, like others I have read of his, delves into the poetry of experience. In this book he approached space, as in the places that surround us and that we occupy. In the table of contents: The House: from cellar to garret; House & Universe; Drawers, Chests and Wardrobes; Nests; Shells; Corners; Miniature; Intimate Immensity; D...more
Claire
I definitely feel that I got stronger as a writer as a result of the time I put into reading this book. Bachelard claims to, and in most cases succeeds in, examining the "dialectical shadings" of all manner of things associated with home: cabinets, shelves, nooks, crannies, dressers and more. I appreciated the fluent mixing of psychoanalysis and lyrical criticism. My main beef with the book lies in what Bachelard seems to neglect: what about experiences of place that are marked by trauma? Not al...more
Scott
It just goes to show that the transitive property of literary taste isn't very reliable. Michael Pollan liked this book; I like Michael Pollan's books; ergo, I'd like this book. Nope.

It wasn't Bachelard's preoccupation with psychoanalysis, although that hasn't aged very well -- the nattering on about psychoanalytical approaches to phenomenology sounded silly and smelled moldy, and was about as engaging as reading about phrenological approaches (actually, that might have been more interesting). E...more
Jericha
I do absolutely love this book, and it became in many ways a kind of manifesto for me. The reason I haven't given it the full 5 stars is simply that a good third of the writing remains essentially meaningless to me, even after a dozen rereadings. The things that work are SO wonderful, but I still can't make head or tail of phenomenology in general and plenty of this book in particular. What is marvelous about it, though, is that you don't need to understand most of it to get a great deal of plea...more
Elie
My hopes for an intelligent reading of intimate and public spaces were squashed by Bachelard's constant quoting of Rilke and endless pages about snails in their shells. The constant comparisons between psychology, psychoanalysis and phenomenology became tedious as soon as I realized phenomenology would always win. I know this is a classic, but it read like a drunk man monopolizing conversation at dinner.
فاتن
للأسف قاومت مللي منه
وإملاله لي
فما استطعت
حاولت
فما نجحت

وحسبي أن تعرفت على علم جديد من الفلسفة
وهي الفلسفة الظاهراتية

لعلي في قابل الأيام إذا مدّ ربي في عمري أن أقرأ مثل هذه الكتب بشغف أكثر مما أنا عليه
Lightsey
Sep 06, 2009 Lightsey is currently reading it
So far, the major insight seems to be that in so far as we grow up in similar environments, we will have similar internal landscapes--and thus be susceptible to similar images. Ah. Well, it's nice to have a theory about the efficacy of poetic images, and it's a convincing theory.
But Bachelard's further investigation is proving a bit difficult for me. It's very very French, full of "we" and assumptions, and I find myself protesting at all this business about cellars and attics and how hurricanes...more
Sarah Al-Mutlaq
ـ"اننا نريح أنفسنا من خلال ان نعايش مرة اخرى ذكريات الحماية...لسنا مؤرخين، بل نحن أقرب إلى الشعراء، وقد تكون انفعالاتنا ليست إلا تعبير عن الشعر الذي فقدناه"
"إن أماكن لحظات عزلتنا الماضية، والأماكن التي عانينا فبها من الوحدة، والتي تألفنا مع الوحدة فيها، تظل راسخة في داخلنا، لأننا نرغب في ان تبقئ كذلك"

غاستون باشلارد


Tedb0t
I've never really decided how I really feel about this text. Part of me knows it's total bullshit but another part of me wants to believe in it and enjoy the ridiculous, quasi-academic frenchitude. Maybe they're not mutually exclusive ;)
Susan
I spent a lazy day on Cape Breton, swinging in a hammock beside a still, lily-covered pond, reading the Poetics of Space twice in a row. I read parts of this in grad school for a paper on Moby Dick, and had always wanted to get back to it. Bachelard comes across as such a genial old grandpa--somebody from the ancien regime before all the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, not too hip to all of this newfangled feminist stuff, but a charming and cultured old guy who you can tell loved his mother and...more
Hajar Ahmed

إن النقطة الأساسية التي ينطلق منها باشلار هي أن البيت القديم، بيت الطفولة، هو مكان الألفة، و مركز تكييف الخيال. و عندنا نبتعد عنه نظل دائمًا مستعيد ذكراه، و نسقط على الكثير من مظاهر الحياة المادية ذلك الإحساس بالحماية و الأمن اللذين كان يوفّرهما لنا البيت.
إننا نعيش لحظات البيت من خلال الأدراج و الصناديق و الخزائن التي يسميها باشلار " بيت الأشياء "
العشّ، يبعث إحساسنا بالبيت لأنه يجعلنا نضع أنفسنا في أصل منبع الثقة بالعالم.

- هل كان العصفور يبني عشّه لو لم يكن يملك غرزة الثقة بالعالم؟
القوقعة تج...more
Al
This book is a distillation of how our imaginations are formed and extended along the lines of the spaces we inhabit. I loved the passage on shelters, the way they keep us warm and safe and encourage imaginative growth. Bachelard notes that we are warm and toasty in our homes because it's cold outside. What a marvelous mundane epiphany. You enjoy the warmth because you know it's cold! He talks about resonance, reverberations, and all the sorts of ways nooks and crannies, locks, shells(home for t...more
Andrew
Jun 08, 2008 Andrew added it
Shelves: theeeeeeory
I'd read parts before, and had a somewhat more negative opinion. Despite the many, many assumptions that Bachelard goes into the book with, it remains valuable. First off, he spatializes Bergsonian ideas, which helps to organize a spatial narrative. Second, he unifies philosophy and poetics, yielding a dual method that proves more effective than either individually. If you choose to read the book as a subjective experience rather than as a comprehensive, philosophical work, than it turns out to...more
Theresa
Inspired, meaningful ruminations on dwellings, spaces. Illuminates how profoundly homes and spaces impart themselves on our imaginations, memories, experiences, daydreams ... a path to understanding, evolving.
Rachel
Sep 13, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: word lovers
A life changing book. "Does there exist a single dreamer of words who does not respond to the word wardrobe?"
رانيـــــا .. Rania
( طبقاً لتجارب علماء النفس يستحيل أن نفكر بحرف العلة " آه " دون ان تتوتر الحبال الصوتية فالحرف " آه " في كلمة واسع يقف وحيداً ، مترفعاً بقيمته .. )
لم يعلموا هؤلاء عن اسم ربي " الله " كم تعطي راحة نفسية و عمق للروح .. سبحان الله

( المحارة بقوقعتها الصلبة و الحيوان الطري الذي في داخلها هي رمز القدماء الى الإنسان جسداً و روحاً ، لقد استعمل القدماء القوقعة كرمز للجسد الإنساني الذي يحيط الروح بغلاف خارجي ، بينما الروح التي تنشط الجسد كله تتمثل بالرخوية ولهذا قالوا ان الجسد يموت عندما تغادره الروح مث...more
Brandy
I always wonder what to say about a book when I've spent an inordinate amount of time reading it. Sometimes, especially with extremely thoughtful, meditative book like The Poetics of Space, it's almost as though I've internalized the concepts so thoroughly that it's hard to pull them apart from my own. Perhaps this is a typical response to reading, or at least to reading a very good piece. Things feel right and true, and slip into the reader's world view with ease. There has been more chaos happ...more
Noor
أغراني العنوان و النبذة المختصرة عن الكتاب ... تفائلت ب أن يكون كتاب متعلق ب علم الاجتماع العمراني ... عن جمالية العناصر العمرانية و المكانية و أثرها على الإنسان والعكس .... و لكنه في الحقيقة كتاب فلسفي محض يختص في تحليل العبارات الشعرية التي تتعرض للأمكنة و تفسير هذه الكتابات كنوع من أحلام اليقظة ( الخيال ) التي تحرضها أرواح الامكنة و الذكريات و التركيز على مكامن الالفة و الدفء فيها بالاضافة الى تفاعل القراء معها ... كل ذلك بطريقة فلسفية غير عادية ل عدم اعتمادها على العقل و المنطق و التحليل الن...more
Kim
Magical and inspiring. Gave me the idea for the next class I want to teach. Teaching is all about creating space. Here's what I wrote in my blog www.gettingmessy.com about creating space in teaching:
Teaching for me is all about creating deep, fertile environments for learning. In fact, I have learned that being able to create rich space is way more important than any subject matter expertise that I may have. So if space is so important, why do we continue to focus on the specifics--the subject,...more
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Gaston Bachelard was a French philosopher who rose to some of the most prestigious positions in the French academy. His most important work is on poetics and on the philosophy of science. To the latter he introduced the concepts of epistemological obstacle and epistemological break (obstacle épistémologique et rupture épistémologique). He influenced many subsequent French philosophers, among them...more
More about Gaston Bachelard...
The Psychoanalysis of Fire The Poetics of Reverie Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter (The Bachelard Translations) Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement (Bachelard Translation Series) Formation of the Scientific Mind

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“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” 79 likes
“Rilke wrote: 'These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.” 61 likes
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