Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

February 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

I recently read Bachelard’s chapter on the Forest in The Poetics of Space.
This is how Bachelard explains “intimate immensity” as experienced in the Forest:

We do not have to be long in the woods to experience the always rather anxious impression of “going deeper and deeper” into a limitless world. Soon, if we do not know where we are going, we no longer know where we are. It would be easy to furnish literary documents that would be so many variations on the theme of this limitless world, which is a primary attribute of the forest. […] “Forests, especially, with the mystery of their space prolonged indefinitely beyond the veil of tree trunks and leaves, space that is veiled for our eyes, but transparent to action, are veritable psychological transcendents.”

On immensity / daydream:

One might say that immensity is a philosophical category of daydream. Daydream undoubtedly feeds on all kinds of sights, but through a sort of natural inclination, it contemplates grandeur. And this contemplation produces an attitude that is so special, an inner state that is so unlike any other, that the daydream transports the dreamer outside the immediate world to a world that bears the mark of infinity.

More:
Bachelard’s “intimate immensity”
The Poetics of Space quotes

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