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The Poetics of Space

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,715 Ratings  ·  243 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
Paperback, 282 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Beacon Press (MA) (first published 1957)
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Architecture by Francis D.K. ChingArchitects' Data by Ernst NeufertA Visual Dictionary of Architecture by Francis D.K. ChingThe Poetics of Space by Gaston BachelardThe Architecture of the City by Aldo Rossi
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The Poetics of Space by Gaston BachelardTowards a New Architecture by Le CorbusierYes is More by Bjarke Ingels GroupArchitecture by Francis D.K. ChingDelirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
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Community Reviews

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Feb 14, 2008 Josh rated it it was amazing
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
Rakhi Dalal
Feb 07, 2015 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in art
Shelves: favorites, journey, dreams
A bestowed mind, when undertaking the poetic journey of imagination, is elated at discovering sudden corners, pathways and bridges which lead to those places where the being surges to acquire intimacy with that notion which transpires oneness with life. Sometimes these places have always been there around waiting to be discovered. Sometimes the discovery is not sudden but gradual, brought about by a continuing familiarity with the places. The wooden door, whose smell begets a sense of warmth or ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Geoff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“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.”

“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
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'.
Jun 21, 2014 Jonfaith rated it liked it
Shelves: theory
[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
Nov 18, 2013 knig rated it liked it
Shelves: lightwieght, 2013
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
Dec 31, 2012 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
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
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
Fatema Hassan , bahrain
Dec 23, 2013 Fatema Hassan , bahrain rated it it was amazing

" 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
Dec 18, 2013 طَيْف rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Seham Al-Mutairi .
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
Nov 23, 2007 Matt rated it liked it
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
Sep 24, 2008 lisa_emily rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 19, 2008 Clarence rated it liked it
Shelves: theory
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
Mar 30, 2012 Scott rated it it was ok
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
Sep 14, 2008 Elie rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
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
May 28, 2008 Tedb0t rated it liked it
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 ;)
Feb 11, 2014 فاتن rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
للأسف قاومت مللي منه
وإملاله لي
فما استطعت
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
Josh Friedlander
Oct 18, 2014 Josh Friedlander rated it liked it
Shelves: pomo, poetry, philosophy
Bachelard was something of a polymath who began his career as a postman, taught himself physics and chemistry, and then became a philosophy professor at the Sorbonne. His thinking is suitably eclectic. Quite simply, this book purports to be a work of philosophy (apparently one of phenomenology, though its metaphysics owe a far greater debt to Bergson than to Husserl or Brentano), but is best described as a meditation on poetry, and the connection between language and private spaces.

The influenc
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
Sep 13, 2007 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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?"
Sep 22, 2014 Abby rated it it was amazing
“It is on the plane of the daydream and not on that of facts that childhood remains alive and poetically useful within us. Throughout this permanent childhood, we maintain the poetry of the past. To inhabit oneirically the house we were born in means more than to inhabit it in memory; it means living in this house that is gone, the way we used to dream in it.”

I have been waiting for years to read this little book. Finally, after acknowledging that my public library was probably never going to st
Hajar Alobaid
Jul 14, 2013 Hajar Alobaid rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy

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
May 12, 2009 Al rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sarah Al-Mutlaq
Aug 19, 2010 Sarah Al-Mutlaq rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

Jul 10, 2008 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-architecture
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.
Jimmy Ele
Jun 01, 2016 Jimmy Ele rated it it was amazing I enter into it.....the absence of sound allows for the infinite creative potentialities to seep through into our emergent existence. To understand silence, to understand space is to understand the emergent infinite plane.

Indulgence in this book will transport you back to the days of childhood in which the house we grew up in acted as the second womb. These intimate spaces, the house, the cellar, the basement etc. affect our psyche in hitherto unexplored ways. The poets throughou
رانيـــــا .. Rania
Jan 27, 2014 رانيـــــا .. Rania rated it really liked it
( 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
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  • The Production of Space
  • Space And Place: The Perspective of Experience
  • The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses
  • Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
  • The Practice of Everyday Life
  • Experiencing Architecture
  • S, M, L, XL (Evergreen)
  • Thinking Architecture
  • Space, Time and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition
  • The Image of the City
  • Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity
  • The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought)
  • Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture
  • The Architecture of the City
  • On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection
  • The Arcades Project
  • The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society
  • Phenomenology of Perception
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...

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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.” 125 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.” 93 likes
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