Saturday, July 10, 2010

(Book #24) Gaston Bachelard - The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachillard's 'The Poetics of Space' had been on my shelf for over 10 years, having barely been cracked open in that time. It was another perfect candidate for this reading project. Back in February, I thought it was suitable in length for one of my readings, coming in at just over 200 pages. The book turned out to be a rich stew of philosophy and theory of space itself, and continuous reading of it became difficult. At times the sentences seemed too verbose and complicated to understand, unless read multiple times. I would sometimes glaze over the words and be unable to get into the right mindset to read any of it. It was a slow process , but eventually I focused on the ideas within and finally was able to finish it.

The writing was not entirely difficult to grasp as there were a few engaging chapters that laid out a richer understanding of the notions of 'house' and 'home' and their unique attributes. Beyond this, Bachellard tied human phenomenon to ideas much larger and much smaller. Entire chapters were written on the literal and figurative concepts of nests and shells, while also relating them to the Universe at large. Amidst all of this theoretical meandering there is a smattering of poetry throughout, in which the poets themselves tried to lyrically interpret these spatial experiences and put them into words. Overall, this book was very compelling, but because the content was so heavy it was difficult to read under time constraints. It would have been a more engaging book for me if read outside of this 52 book reading project, but who knows how much longer it would have sat there unread.

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