Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dire, deary..., 15 Jun. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Poetics of Space (Paperback)
"More than 80,000 copies sold..." says the blurb; it doesn't say how many were read to the end.
Bachelard's notion here (si je comprends bien, naturellement) is that we experience art like we experience the world and that therefore the phenomenon of emergence that establishes the nature of all things applies as much to poetry as it does to an apple. This book is a composite review of how poetry (which is to say French poetry... plus Rilke, Milosz and a few Gallic, `poetic novelists') deals with the topic of space.
Starting with domestic space (ie houses - `the chief benefit of a house is that it protects the dreamer') Bachelard moves to rooms, wardrobes, nests, shells, confines and expanses. Each topic is treated didactically (...there are those, after all, who might rather regard the chief benefit of a house to be the context that it affords for visitors) but is nonetheless studiously supported by tellingly abstruse citations from literature.
Thus: `the objective study of subjective experience'.
The book is pleasantly discursive and inately wayward but - as a text which has influenced a generation of fine art students - it is also worryingly pompous and effete. From the start Bachelard points out that he is not a Psychologist (a species that is worthy of attention, but essentially inferior); he is a Phenomenologist: a creature allied to (but essentially superior to) a Philosopher who is uniquely qualified to ponder Poets.
For Bachelard, a man fossilised in academic mud, vocation is everything. Baudelaire is a `Poet' and singularly a `Poet'. As an entity his order is as different from a postman as a whale is from a flea.
This rigid categorisation of experience soon becomes unexpectedly (...given Gaston's chatty tone) depressing; just as his `insights' soon start to grate. A nest is `evidence of a cosmic situation' (...isn't any thing?); `In the realm of images, there can be no contradiction' (...would Escher agree?).
The arch-prissiness waxes towards the end of the book, until Bachelard insightfully points out that "at times" the sound of a letter defines the thought attached to a word (...as if no poetry reader had ever before contemplated euphonics) and innocently undermines the translated nature of this English text.
As you reach the conclusion (having been promised several other books on ideas that have occurred to this phenomenal Phenomenologist) you realise that Bachelard is not, actually, a Phenomenologist at all. He's a book. A kind of literary hygroscopy has occurred. All that arduous copyism, all that filtering and selective grooming of words have reified him into the kind of inflexible, dessicant, poisonous text that Plato famously feared would result from the `invention' of writing.
Which - to be human for just a moment - seems incredibly sad.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Oct 2013 08:52:37 GMT
Just brilliant. Review of 2012?

Posted on 27 Oct 2013 08:53:04 GMT
Just brilliant. Review of the year 2012?
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Yorkshire, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 92,065