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The Psychoanalysis of Fire

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  515 ratings  ·  28 reviews
"[Bachelard] is neither a self-confessed and tortured atheist like Satre, nor, like Chardin, a heretic combining a belief in God with a proficiency in modern science. But, within the French context, he is almost as important as they are because he has a pseudo-religious force, without taking a stand on religion. To define him as briefly as possible – he is a philosopher, w ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published January 30th 1987 by Beacon Press (first published 1938)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  515 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Modern Hermeneut
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
With this book, Bachelard cements his reputation as an intellectual charlatan. Recklessly speculative, shockingly devoid of empirical evidence, and brazenly inaccurate. In other words, highly recommended.
Eddie Watkins
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bachelard is very difficult to talk about or review. It's not that his writing is difficult, but rather that his subjects are so elusive, and he never shies away from avoiding specific conclusions; in fact, to specify conclusions would be contrary to his intent. Trying to specify a conclusion in his writing would be like trying to describe the shape of a flame (an easy simile but it's apt). His writing is like a flame (but somehow a soft flame that would never burn too terribly) in that there is ...more
Bachelard makes the intriguing argument that one might analyze poetry in terms of which pre-scientific element—earth, air, fire or water—dominates in its imagery. His thesis is that our cosmologies contain subjective elements, reflected in metaphors, and that these subjective elements can be psychoanalyzed. In this respect, literary analysis is a psychoanalytic technique, and the metaphor is a kind of symptom (one finds similar suggestions in the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan).
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Before I read this, I thought it wasn't possible to psychoanalyze fire. I mean, you're not exactly going to get it to free associate. Boy was I wrong.
النار بفكر وشكل آخر ، كفلسفة وإسطورة وعلم نفس ، كخُرفات وحلم يقضة و محسوسات ، أعتقد أن الترجمة التي لدي من قبل زينب الخضيري لم تكن موفقة كثيراً أو أن الكتاب غير مترابط بشكل دقيق في طرحه وأفكاره ، وكما قال الكاتب نفسه" هذا الكتاب لن يُضيف للقارئ شيئاً يُذكر كمعرفة ! "
لكنهُ رُبما جعلنا نرى النار ونُدركها بتصور وفكر آخر غريب عنا رُبما كان مُبرراً في عصره وزمنه أكثر من الآن .،
Mohamed Karaly
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
موضوع هذا الكتاب هو التحليل النفسى للمعرفة الموضوعية، أو التحليل النفسى للمعرفة التى تتسم تجاوزا بسمة الموضوعية، بخصوص النار، فتصورات البشر الموضوعية عن النار فى العصور التى سماها الكاتب ب"عصور ما قبل العلم" إذا خضعت لهذا التحليل النفسى، يمكن ردّها إلى مجموعة من أحلام اليقظة، أو مجموعة من الحدوس القَبْلية فى اللا وعى، والتى تشكلت بذكريات وانطباعات جمالية من الطفولة، كمجوعة من العُقَد، مثل، عقدة "أنبادوقليس" : وهى عقدة ترجع لحدس جمالى جنسى بما يسمى ب"نداء المحرقة" أو الرغبة الممتزجة بحركة التلاشى ...more
James F
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I discovered this fascinating little book more or less by accident.

Gaston Bachelard is somewhat of an anomaly; in the great schism of modern philosophy early in the twentieth century, the (Austro-)Anglo-American tradition took as its "portion" logic, language, and philosophy of science, while the Continental tradition largely took social philosophy and metaphysics, but Bachelard was a philosopher of science within the Continental tradition, almost the only one.

His philosophy of science is natu
Qasim Zafar
Sep 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: philosophy
Generally, I truly enjoy reading Gaston Bachelard. He has a very poetic style with which he writes; but this book was perhaps one of the most frustrating books I've read - for the reason that there is nothing which even the Bachelard seems to want the reader to gain from having read this book. It is a collection of various subjective meditations in which he often draws from various psychoanalytic and literary resources. But as I read the book I kept asking myself what is the point of this, what ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-read
''La conquête du superflu donne une excitation spirituelle plus grande que la conquête du nécessaire. L'homme est une création du désir, non pas une création du besoin.'' (Gaston Bachelard dans ''La psychanalise du feu'' p. 38)
C'est l'un des fragments dans ce livre que j'ai aimé le plus, qui renferme l'une des vérités les plus contéstées a présent, mais qui exprime à la fois le mieux l'essence du temps que nous vivons, celui de l'être contrôlé ou pas par l'instinct consumériste...
Slap Happy
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bachelard changed my outlook on everything related to art. Highly recommended.
Dan Sumption
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was fascinated by the title and intrigued by the subject matter of this book, but after reading it I can't really recommend it for anything other than a snapshot of its time. To be fair on Bachelard he does say in the introduction that after reading this book, you will not have gained any knowledge whatsoever. In this he is absolutely correct.

Bachelard's thesis is that humans' relationship with fire is so ancient and vital that it is almost impossible for us to look at fire objectively. He cla
R.W. Spryszak
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Difficult at times, then is as clear as fire itself. Surprising, infuriating, unforgettable.
Claudio Valverde
Bastante complejo y de dificil lectura para mi. Si bien esperaba una obra de corte epistemológico me pareció demasiado críptico para mi gusto
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
e ae bola de fogo
o calor tá de matar
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
How does one rectify the burning fires of hell and the consuming purification of the Holy Spirit? This book places one in an arena where dueling thoughts about our understanding, contextual precepts and truths, and opined beliefs are interrogated. The nature of language, an art in and of itself is deftly handled by Bachelard, who exploits the inherent weakness of poetry when trying to describe any event. The metamorphic meaning of words is rooted in the nature of our education. We seek to find g ...more
In point of fact a poetic work can hardly be unified except by a complex. If the complex is lacking, the work, cut off from its roots, no longer communicates with the unconscious. (19)

Death in the flame is the least lonely of deaths. It is truly a cosmic death in which a whole universe is reduced to nothingness along with the thinker. The funeral pyre accompanies him in his passing. (19)
Suellen Rubira
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um livro teórico simplesmente encantador. Inaugura a obra noturna do Bachelard brilhantemente. Na introdução, Bachelard alerta que leitor não aprenderá algo com a obra... modéstia pura. Aprendemos e muito com a leitura.
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
faut comprendre que le feu est pas seulement le feu perçu, que nos poumons font le même procédé, tout comme la rouille, même si avec des fréquences et une temporalité différente, c'est la psychanalyse du feu qui nous montre la limite de nos sens
Jun 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
not freud sitting down with heraclitus, sadly. just what is in the id of the polemos, anyways?
Al Pacina
Un peu décue.. je préfère La poétique de l'espace
Tami Lynn Andrew
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this is my favorite book in a long while. a "psychoanalysis of objective knowledge" which reveals the hilarity of so-called objectivity when it comes to something as common as fire. read it.
Dec 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is one of Gaston Bachelard's best (see my review of The Poetics of Space). Anything by Bachelard is profound and enriching.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Nice transition between the philosphy of science and aesthetics. Think alchemy.
rated it it was amazing
Oct 29, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2019
Paul Lichtenberg
rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2008
André Darlington
rated it liked it
Mar 26, 2013
Mihai Dascalu
rated it it was amazing
Feb 02, 2013
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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
“To sum up, while we do not seek to instruct the reader, we should feel rewarded for our efforts if we can persuade him to practice an exercise at which we are a master: to laugh at oneself. No progress is possible in the acquisition of objective knowledge without this self-critical irony.” 0 likes
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