I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie, 1960

Via wood s lot, where you will find a number of Bachelard links. I don’t really know anything about him, but I like this quote a lot. (There’s a long section from the French original, La Poétique de la Rêverie, here.)


  1. Bachelard, believe it or not, also made significant contributions to philosophy of science. As I remember, he was also an autodidact with a non-normal career path. He’s been on my “to read” list for 30+ years…..

  2. The beauty of the *Poetics of Space* begins in its first pages, when Bachelard considers space as frozen time. For example, a daydream, a thing of duration, has spatial dimension where it occurs, such as all alone in a room of a house.

  3. The passage is beautiful even in translation.

Speak Your Mind