Thoughts on Poetics of Space

I’ve just discovered Bachelard’s work, Poetics of Space.

I feel like I’m really, really late to a party.

Bachelard’s idea is that real-world spaces evoke spatial archetypes and that we all experience primal emotional responses to different types of spaces & archetypes.

Doors, it seems, are a particularly big deal, and reading an extract of Bachelard’s work made me think about the way I’ve used doors in my writing, particularly my plays, completely subconsciously.

Reflecting over specific pieces of writing doors in my work, in addition to the expected exits and entrances, I have used doors to signify hesitation, relief, composition, a revelation of truth, and a threshold of change from one life stage to another.

Other concepts on doors offered by Bachelard include temptation, desire, security, welcome, respect. He talks about oblique angles of doors and the psychologies that they offer, the concealment, the half-truth and that a gentle push could unveil a destiny.

The idea of the door as a threshold is really interesting, the space between two different lives, two different worlds, two different selves.

It makes me think about the old trope of carrying a bride over the door threshold, as a symbol of one life stage to the next, and also the often-used analogy of opportunity where one door closes and another opens. The book also makes me think about Alain de Botton’s thoughts on the hotel rooms, as another domestic space, which Botton describes as another world- a neutral space to think, like a monastery.

Fascinating stuff. I’ll look at domestic settings differently from now on.

Bachelard, G. (1994 [1958]) The Poetics of Space, (trans. M. Jolas), Boston, Beacon Press,

Featured image courtesy of  Dil on Unsplash

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