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Gaston Bachelard Quotes


A French philosopher and poet.
(1884 - 1962)

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A man is a man to the extent that he is a superman. A man should be defined by the sum of those tendencies which impel him to surpass the human condition.
 

A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.
 

A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.  A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.
 

Childhood lasts all through life. It returns to animate broad sections of adult life.... Poets will help us to find this living childhood within us, this permanent, durable immobile world.
 

Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child's world and thus a world event.
 

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.
 

Ideas are invented only as correctives to the past. Through repeated rectification of this kind one may hope to disengage an idea that is valid.
 

Ideas are refined and multiplied in the commerce of minds. In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.
 

If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.
 

Literary imagination is an aesthetic object offered by a writer to a lover of books.
 

Man is a creation of desire, not a creation of need.
 

Man is an imagining being.
 

One must always maintain one's connection to the past and yet ceaselessly pull away from it. To remain in touch with the past requires a love of memory. To remain in touch with the past requires a constant imaginative effort.
 

Poetry is one of the destinies of speech.... One would say that the poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language.
 

Reverie is not a mind vacuum. It is rather the gift of an hour which knows the plenitude of the soul.
 

So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.
[Family]
 

The characteristic of scientific progress is our knowing that we did not know.
 

The great function of poetry is to give back to us the situations of our dreams.
 

The mollusk's motto would be: one must live to build one's house, and not build one's house to live in.
 

The reflected world is the conquest of calm.
 


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