Gaston Bachelard


French Philosopher

Author Quotes

A pretext--not a cause--is sufficient for us to enter the "solitary situation", the situation of the dreaming solitude. In this solitude, memories arrange themselves in tableaux. Decor takes precedence over drama. Sad memories take on at least the peace of melancholy.

Childhood is a human water, a water which comes out of the shadows. This childhood in the mists and glimmers, this life in the slowness of limbo gives us a certain layer of births. What a lot of beings we have begun! What a lot of lost springs which have nevertheless, flowed! Reverie toward our past then, reverie looking for childhood seems to bring back lives which which have never taken place, lives which have been imagined. Reverie is a mnemonics of the imagination. In reverie we re-enter into contact with possibilities which destitute has not been able to make use of.

Here we are at the very core of the thesis we wish to defend in the present essay: reverie is under the sign of the anima. When the reverie is truly profound, the being who comes to dream within us is our anima. For a philosopher who takes his inspiration from phenomenology, a reverie on reverie is very exactly a phenomenology of the anima, and it is by coordinating reveries on reverie that he hopes to constitute a "Poetics of reverie". In other words, the poetics of reverie is a poetics of the anima.

In living off all the reflecting light furnished by poets, the I which dreams the reverie reveals itself not as poet but as poetizing I.

It is quite evident that a barrier must be cleared in order to escape the psychologists and enter into a realm which is not "auto-observant", where we ourselves no longer divide ourselves into observer and observed. Then the dreamer is completely dissolved in his reverie. His reverie is his silent life. It is that silent peace which the poet wants to convey to us.

A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.

Childhood knows unhappiness through men. In solitude, it can relax its aches. When the human world leaves him in peace, the child feels like the son of the cosmos.

How is it possible not to feel that there is communication between our solitude as a dreamer and the solitudes of childhood? And it is no accident that, in a tranquil reverie, we often follow the slope which returns us to our childhood solitudes.

In order to dream so far, is it enough to read? Isn't it necessary to write? Write as in our schoolboy past, in those days when, as Bonnoure says, the letters wrote themselves one by one, either in their gibbosity or else in their pretentious elegance? In those days, spelling was a drama, our drama of culture at work in the interior of a word.

It is through the intentionality of poetic imagination that the poet's soul discovers the opening of consciousness common to all true poetry.

A universe comes to contribute to our happiness when reverie comes to accentuate our repose. You must tell the man who wants to dream well to begin by being happy. Then reverie plays out its veritable destiny; it becomes poetic reverie and by it, in it, everything becomes beautiful. If the dreamer had "the gift" he would turn his reverie into a work. And this work would be grandiose since the dreamed world is automatically grandiose.

Childhood lasts all through life. It returns to animate broad sections of adult life.... Poets will help us to find this living childhood within us, this permanent, durable immobile world.

I always feel a slight shock, a certain mild, philological pain, whenever a great writer uses a word in a derogatory sense. To begin with, all words do an honest job in our everyday language, and not even the most ordinary among them, those that are attached to the most commonplace realities, lose their poetic possibilities as a result of this fact.

In our life as a civilized person in the industrial age, we are invaded by objects; how could an object have a "force" when it no longer has individuality?

It seems that the joy of reading is a reflection of the joy of writing as if the reader was the ghost writer.

A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream. A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.

Contemplating a flame perpetuates a primordial reverie. It separates us from the world and enlarges our world as dreamers. In itself the flame is a major presence, but being close to it makes us dream of far away, too far away. The flame is there, feeble and tiny, struggling to stay in existence, and the dreamer goes on to dream of elsewhere, losing his own being by dreaming on a grand, on a too grand scale by dreaming of the world.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.

In our view any awareness is an increment to consciousness, an added light, a reinforcement of psychic coherence. Its swiftness or instantaneity can hide this growth from us. But there is a growth of being in every instance of awareness. Consciousness is in itself an act, the human act.

It will always be a fact that the woman is the person one idealizes, also the person who wishes his idealization.

Actually, however, life begins less by reaching upward, than by turning upon itself. But what a marvelously insidious, subtle image of life a coiling vital principle would be! And how many dreams the leftward oriented shell, or one that did not conform to the rotation of its species, would inspire!

Cosmic reveries separate us from project reveries. They situate us in a world and not in a society. The cosmic reverie possesses a sort of stability or tranquility. It helps us escape time. It is a state.

I am alone so I dream of the being who has cured my solitude, who would be cured by solitudes. With its life, it brought me the idealizations of life, all the idealizations which give life a double, which lead life toward it summits, which make the dreamer too live by splitting.

In poetry, wonder is coupled with the joy of speech.

Literary imagination is an aesthetic object offered by a writer to a lover of books.

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French Philosopher