Water and Dreams
Gaston Bachelard. Translated by Edith Farrell.
The Pegasus Foundation: 1983. First edition. Hardcover in a jacket. Very good in a good jacket. Stain on the fore- and bottom edges and front board. Jacket smudged and stained.
"The passage that closes by recalling the sweet abandon the well-satisfied child who falls asleep on his mother's breast: 'The Polar winter appeared to be coming on - but coming without its terrors. I felt a numbness of body and mind - a dreaminess of sensation - but this was all.' The harsh realism of the polar winter is conquered. Imaginary milk has fulfilled its function. It has numbed soul and body. The explorer is thenceforth a dreamer who remembers.
Direct images, often very beautiful - in an internal, material way - have the same origins. For example, what is the river to Paul Claudel? 'It is the liquification of the earth's substance; it is the eruption of liquid water rooted in its most secret folds, of milk under the sucking of the Ocean which is nursing.' Here again, which is governing, form or matter? The geographical design of the river with the rounded hillock of its delta or the liquid itself, milk, the liquid of organic psychoanalysis? And through what interagent will the reader participate in the poet's image, if not through an essentially substantial interpretation, by dynamizing, in a human way, the mouth of the river fastened to the Ocean which is nursing? Once more we see that all great substantial values, all valorized human movements, rise without difficulty to a cosmic level."