Gaston Bachelard


French Philosopher

Author Quotes

Thanks to his complex convictions, made strong with the forces of animus and anima, the alchemist believes he is seizing the soul of the world, participating in the soul of the world. Thus, from the world to the man, alchemy is a problem of souls.

The philosophy of poetry must acknowledge that the poetic act has no past, at least no recent past, in which its preparation and appearance could be followed.

The world is intense before becoming complex.

Very often, I confess, the teller of dreams bores me. His dream could perhaps interest me if it were frankly worked on. But to hear a glorious tale of his insanity! I have not yet clarified, psychoanalytically, this boredom during the recital of other people's dreams. Perhaps I have retained the stiffness of a rationalist. I do not follow the tale of justified incoherence docilely. I always suspect that part of the stupidities being recounted are invented.

What special depth there is in a child?s daydream? And how happy the child who really possesses his moments of solitude? It is a good thing, it is even salutary, for a child to have periods of boredom, for him to learn to know the dialectics of exaggerated play and causeless, pure boredom.

Our house is our corner of the world.

That beauty may, for instance, be composed of lovely flowers, and glittering streams, and blue sky and white clouds; and yet the thing that impresses us most, and which we should be sorriest to lose, may be a thin grey film on the extreme horizon, not so large, in the space of the scene it occupies, as a piece of gossamer on a near-at-hand bush, nor in any wise prettier to the eye than the gossamer; but because the gossamer is known by us for a little bit of spider?s work, and the other grey film is known to mean a mountain ten thousand feet high, inhabited by a race of noble mountaineers we are solemnly impressed by the aspect of it, and yet all the while the thoughts and knowledge which cause us to receive this impression are so obscure that we are not conscious of them.

The poet, in the novelty of his images, is always the origin of language.

There are children who will leave a game to go and be bored in a corner of the garret. How often have I wished for the attic of my boredom when the complications of life made me lose the very germ of freedom!

Water is really transient. It is the essential ontological metamorphosis between fire and earth

When a dreamer can reconstruct the world from an object that he transforms magically through his care of it, we become convinced that everything in the life of poet is germinal.

Our whole childhood remains to be reimagined. In reimagining it, we have the possibility of recovering it in the very life of our reveries as a solitary child.

The best proof of the specificity of the book is that it is at once a reality of the virtual and a virtuality of the real.

The poetic image exists apart from causality.

There are reveries so deep, reveries which help us descend so deeply within ourselves that they rid us of our history. They liberate us from our name. These solitudes of today return us to the original solitudes.

We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.

When the image is new, the world is new.

Perhaps it is even a good idea to stir up a rivalry between conceptual and imaginative activity. In any case, one will encounter nothing but disappointments if he intends to make them cooperate. The image cannot provide matter for a concept. By giving stability to the image, the concept would stifle its life.

The characteristic of scientific progress is our knowing that we did not know.

The poetic image is a sudden salience on the surface of the psyche.

There is no original truth, only original error.

We believe we can also show that words do not have exactly the same psychic "weight" depending on whether they belong to the language of reverie or to the language of daylight life-to rested language or language under surveillance-to the language of natural poetry or to the language hammered out by authoritarian prosodies.

When the two feathers spits error .. I think, who can bring me inkwell childhood?

Pierre-Jean Jouve writes: poetry is a soul inaugurating form. The soul inaugurates. Here it is the supreme power. It is human dignity. Even if the form was already well-known, previously discovered, carved from commonplaces, before the interior poetic light was turned upon it, it was a mere object for the mind. But the soul comes and inaugurates the form, dwells in it, takes pleasure in it.

The cleverer I am at miniaturizing the world, the better I possess it.

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French Philosopher