Gaston Bachelard's Places of the Imagination and Images of Space

Chimisso, Cristina (2017). Gaston Bachelard's Places of the Imagination and Images of Space. In: Janz, Bruce B. ed. Place, Space and Hermeneutics. Springer, pp. 183–195.



This chapter explores Gaston Bachelard’s hermeneutics of place, or ‘topoanalysis’, in the context of his philosophy of the imagination. In turn, his philosophy of the imagination is considered as part of his whole philosophical project, which includes his philosophy of science, and is based on his view of the ‘double anthropology’ of the ‘diurnal man’ and the ‘nocturnal man’. By broadening the narrow focus on The Poetics of Space, which has been predominant in Anglophone criticism, we can better understand Bachelard’s approach to the analysis of space. I examine Bachelard’s approach to the study of space, and consider his use of Jungian analytical psychology, phenomenology and hermeneutics. I conclude that he consciously, and indeed explicitly, steered away from any fully-fledged and rational method in his study of place. I also argue that the aims of his philosophy, including his hermeneutics of place, are pedagogical.

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