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10 April 2006



If you think Bachelard's difficult, try Heidegger. His work is no swamp - it's an impenetrable jungle (some would say jumble). But if you're looking for magnificent epigraphs, they're there in abundance. Sadly, I have to rely on secondary literature to get any idea at all of what he's saying.


Pete--I agree that Bachelard is not competition for Heidegger. Heidegger on Nietzsche is readable, although I don't recall agreeing with him--but the rest--in English--is a loss. I've been unwilling to touch his stuff for the last 25 years. I tend to enjoy the Post-War French philosophers, all of whom seem to create textual swamps, but those environments they create are very fertile and elegantly artful.

Debbie Lee

I read this a few days ago and pulled out my copy of Donne’s poems, thinking immediately of The Ecstasy. I’m drawn to Donne for the same reasons Eliot makes me shiver all over, which, knowing how you feel about TS, may make the connection between the Poetics of Space and Donne not so appealing. What’s most interesting in Donne, I think, are not the traditional seventeenth-century uses of “ecstasy”—ie, religious or sexual—but the idea of standing apart, of the self losing its grip on its own mind/body coherence. Which may be what images in poetry or photography or landscape do for us—they takes us out of ourselves. The most ecstatic image in “The Ecstasy” has to be:

Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
Our eyes upon one double string.


Debbie---thanks for calling my attention to the Donne; I would not have thought about going to his poetry. The idea of ecstasy being rooted in the "out-of-body" or, maybe, "extension-of-body" experience is interesting--I'll think about this.

And Eliot--I very much like Eliot's poetry, but I think that the religious ideas that underlie and are promoted in some of poems are wrong. Great poetry, bad thinking.

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