39 pages 1 hour read

Gaston Bachelard

The Poetics of Space

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1957

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Introduction-Chapter 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Introduction Summary and Analysis

Bachelard first references his personal history in the sciences, claiming that the pursuit of poetics requires an abandonment of the rational principles applied in scientific study. Bachelard became disillusioned with science when he taught chemistry and physics, feeling weighed down by the rationality of scientific thought. Whereas science is intrinsically connected to prior research and thinking, poetics operates inside a realm of newness. Bachelard suggests that creativity requires close attention to the sporadic and seemingly disconnected jolts of imaginative thought—what he refers to as “the poetic image” (1). To attempt to apply scientific theory or context to the poetic image would ruin it. Bachelard confirms that he is interested not in scientific principles of phenomenology but in ontology, the study of the nature of being. For him, the poetic image has no cause or catalyst; it exists within a flow of being that connects everything together. Bachelard suggests that while one can study the biography of an artist or writer, it is foolish to attempt to examine the poetic image through any other lens than the phenomenology of imagination.

In this introduction, Bachelard admits that he regularly struggles to abandon the scientific modes of thinking that dominated his philosophical thinking in the past.