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Water and Dreams: an Essay on the Imagination of Matter; Gaston Bachelard; 1994

Water and Dreams: an Essay on the Imagination of Matter; Gaston Bachelard; 1994

Water and Dreams: an Essay on the Imagination of Matter; Gaston Bachelard; 1994; Dallas Institute of Humanities & Culture


From Amazon Reviews

Following The Psychoanalysis of Fire (1938), Water and Dreams (1942) is Bachelard's second attempt at showing the so very intimate traffic between matter and psyche, the matter here being, of course, water. To Bachelard, we are all materialsts to the core, and our most idealized notions about, say, life, death, or re-birth (all very water-dominated themes) cannot escape the material ground/womb where they were conceived. In the manner first employed in The Psychoanalysis of Fire, which would continue into his later books, Bachelard here names those souls whose destiny is determined by matter by "--- complex." Hence, Ophelia complex is one suffered by those to whom water signifies feminine, masochistic, death. Charon complex is witnessed whenever water as a dissolving death also holds a promise for re-birth.Water is a deeply, very deeply, ambivalent matter. With water, we can experience the most profound joy and the most profound despair. These words simply bastardize Bachelard's poetic and hypnotic language. Still unable to translate him into a language that satisfies me, I'll just have to return to him again and again. S. Lee


Bachelard's book, one of the best ever written about the nature of water, was an early inspiration for both my own research and writing. There is much in the pages of Water and Dreams to be of interest to any practitioner of water management and to any student concerned with how we regard life's very essence. I quoted Bachelard  6 times in own work Deep Immersion: The Experience of Water, nominated for top environmental book of the year in 2003. Other works worth consulting include Schwenk's Water, the Element of Life, Illich's H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness, and Sprawson's Haunts of the Black Masseur. Robert L. France


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