Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Aimless Reading: The B's, Part 1

Bachelard, Gaston
The Poetics of Space


Another grad school purchase, though I am pretty sure I bought it on my own, rather than for a class. I have a memory of really wanting to like this book. Of wanting to have a profound experience in the reading of it. Sadly, I have no memory of having had such an experience. My underlinings indicate that I never read beyond the first chapter. And glancing over it again, I find parts of this book pretty laughable. For instance, his complaint about horizontal homes (which don't fit neatly into his scheme):

Home has become mere horizontality. The different rooms that compose living quarters jammed into one floor all lack one of the fundamental principles for distinguishing and classifying the values of intimacy.

Quelle horreur! Not all houses are are like old French houses! How are we to understand them if they don't have a garret (for daydreaming) and a basement (for a subconscious)? This is the kind of book that will really get you off if you imagine poetry as a tidy little thing that never changes and can be talked about like an old French house. Otherwise -- reader, move on.

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