39 pages 1 hour read

Gaston Bachelard

The Poetics of Space

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1957

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Critical Context: Bachelard’s School of Philosophy

When Bachelard became disillusioned with the rationalism of the scientific world, he turned to poetics. For Bachelard, poetics represented more than Aristotle’s original definition, which focused on plot and imitation, or Plato’s philosophy that creation was merely an act of mirroring everything else. At the other end of the philosophical spectrum, German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant and French existentialist author Jean-Paul Sartre suggested that creativity was the only real source of truth. Before Bachelard, the philosophical world viewed creativity as either deception or righteous honesty. In contrast, Bachelard considers metaphor to be a deception, and he believes that some concepts—such as the poetic image, imagination, the space referred to as “home”—cannot be interpreted using rationality. He rejected these far-reaching philosophies of the creative process. Logos, which can be defined as divine wisdom or the Word of God, harkens to the story of God creating nature and humans in the Book of Genesis. Bachelard connects the idea of logos to images, asserting that images create being. Thus, he reaffirms the philosophy of the cycle of both making and being made. Bachelard suggests that humans are both creators and inhabitants of poetics, that they both make and are made by the creative process.