Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Poetics of Reverie: Philosopher Gaston Bachelard on Dreams, Love, Solitude, and Happiness

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/24/the-poetics-of-reverie-gaston-bachelard/



The Poetics of Reverie: Philosopher Gaston Bachelard on Dreams, Love, Solitude, and Happiness

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“There are still souls for whom love is the contact of two poetries, the fusion of two reveries.”
“Creative writing, like a day-dream,” Freud observed“is a continuation of, and a substitute for, what was once the play of childhood.” But how, exactly, does the playful imagination weave dream and storytelling together to frame our creative experience?
Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962) is one of the most wonderful — literally: full of wonder — philosophers of the twentieth century, yet one of the most underappreciated. His writings on poetics and the philosophy of science fall — rise, rather — somewhere between the erudite and the enchanting, but never more so than in his 1960 treatise The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos(public library), published in English seven years after Bachelard’s death — an exploration of “the remarkable psychic productivity of the imagination” and its relationship to memory, happiness, and our capacity for love, as well as of poetry’s singular ability to catalyze our sense of wonder.
Bachelard writes:
In poetry, wonder is coupled with the joy of speech… The poetic image is in no way comparable, as with the mode of the common metaphor, to a valve which would open up to release pent-up instincts. The poetic image sheds light on consciousness in such a way that it is pointless to look for subconscious antecedents of the image… Poetry is one of the destinies of speech. In trying to sharpen the awareness of language at the level of poems, we get the impression that we are touching the man whose speech is new in that it is not limited to expressing ideas or sensations, but tries to have a future. One would say that poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language.
But the greatest power of the poetic image, Bachelard argues, is in its ability to grant us fuller access to the soul, to consciousness, through reverie — a concept that comes closest to, but isn’t entirely equated with, psychology’s notion of “positive constructive daydreaming,” a special flight of the imagination. And yet he makes a necessary distinction between reverie and dreaming:
In contrast to a dream a reverie cannot be recounted. To be communicated, it must be written, written with emotion and taste, being relived all the more strongly because it is being written down.
Illustration by Ohara Hale for 'Love Poem' by Denise Levertov. Click image for more.
In exploring how reverie evokes the realm of “written love,” Bachelard adds tohistory’s most beautiful definitions of love and reflects:
Written love … is going out of fashion, but the benefits remain. There are still souls for whom love is the contact of two poetries, the fusion of two reveries… To tell a love, one must write… Love is never finished expressing itself, and it expresses itself better the more poetically it is dreamed. The reveries of two solitary souls prepare the sweetness of loving… The reality of love is mutilated when it is detached from all its unrealness.
He returns to the question of dreams — a subject that, despite all the scientific advancements of understanding in the decades since Bachelard’s time, remains a mystery — and reflects:
One might wonder whether there really is a consciousness of dreams. A dream can be so strange that it seems that another subject has come to dream with us. “A dream visited me.” That is certainly the formula which indicates the passivity of great nocturnal dreams. To convince ourselves that they are really ours, we must reinhabit these dreams. Afterwards we make up accounts of them, stories from another time, adventures from another world… The teller of dreams sometimes enjoys his dream as an original work. In it he experiences a delegated originality; and hence he is very much surprised when a psychoanalyst tells him that another dreamer has known the same “originality.” The dream-dreamer’s conviction of having lived the dream he is recounting must not deceive us. It is a reported conviction which is reinforced each time he retells the dream. There is certainly no identity between the subject who is telling and the subject who dreamed.
[...]
Instead of looking for the dream in reverie, people should look for reverie in the dream.
Illustration by Lisbeth Zwerger from 'The Wizard of Oz.' Click image for more.
Even more powerfully, dream and reverie conspire together to form a gateway to happiness. Bachelard writes:
Reverie illustrates repose for a being… it illustrates well-being. The dreamer and his reverie enter totally into the substance of happiness.
[...]
The whole universe comes to contribute to our happiness when reverie comes to accentuate our repose. You must tell the man who wants to dream well to begin by being happy. Then reverie plays out its veritable destiny; it becomes poetic reverie and by it, in it, everything becomes beautiful.
[...]
Poetic reverie gives us the world of worlds. Poetic reverie is a cosmic reverie. It is an opening to a beautiful world, to beautiful worlds. It gives the I a non-I which belongs to the I: my non-I. It is this “my non-I” which enchants the I of the dreamer and which poets can help us share.
[...]
Reverie helps us inhabit the world, inhabit the happiness of the world.
Illustration by from 'The River' by Alessandro Sanna. Click image for more.
At its highest potentiality, reverie touches on the cosmic, in doing so, liberates our solitude — that essential capacity to be alone. Bachelard writes:
The cosmic reverie … is a phenomenon of solitude which has its roots in the soul of the dreamer.
[...]
Cosmic reveries separate us from project reveries. They situate us in a world and not in a society. The cosmic reverie possesses a sort of stability or tranquility. It helps us escape time. It is a state. Let us get to the bottom of its essence: it is a state of mind… Poetry supplies us with documents for a phenomenology of the soul. The entire soul is presented in the poetic universe of the poet.
[...]
The soul does not live on the edge of time. It finds its rest in the universe imagined by reverie… Cosmic images are possessions of the solitary soul which is the principle of all solitude.
Therein lies the greatest gift of poetic reverie:
Reverie gives us the world of a soul [and] a poetic image bears witness to a soul which is discovering its world, the world where it would like to live and where it deserves to live… Poetry forms the dreamer and his world at the same time.
[...]
Poets lead us into cosmoses which are being endlessly renewed.
The Poetics of Reverie is a superb read in its entirety. Complement it with Muriel Rukeyser on how poetry expands our lives, James Dickey on how to read a poem, and Mary Oliver on the secret of great poetry.

Monday, 14 July 2014

MAGRITTE X OPENING CEREMONY

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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Happy Birthday, Marcel Proust: David Bowie Answers the Proust Questionnaire

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/10/david-bowie-proust-questionnaire-vanity-fair/

Happy Birthday, Marcel Proust: David Bowie Answers the Proust Questionnaire

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“Q: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? A: Living in fear.”
In the 1880s, long before he claimed his status as one of the greatest authors of all time, teenage Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871–November 18, 1922) filled out an English-language questionnaire given to him by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” — a Victorian version of today’s popular personality tests, designed to reveal the answerer’s tastes, aspirations, and sensibility in a series of simple questions. Proust’s original manuscript, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” wasn’t discovered until 1924, two years after his death. Decades later, the French television host Bernard Pivot, whose work inspired James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, saw in the questionnaire an excellent lubricant for his interviews and began administering it to his guests in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, Vanity Fairresurrected the tradition and started publishing various public figures’ answers to the Proust Questionnaire on the last page of each issue.
In 2009, the magazine released Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life (public library) — a charming compendium featuring answers by such cultural icons as Jane GoodallAllen GinsbergHedy LamarrGore VidalJulia Child, andJoan Didion. Among the most wonderful answers, equal parts playful and profound, are those by David Bowie — himself a vocal lover of literature — published in the magazine in August of 1998.
Portrait of David Bowie by Robert Risko for Vanity Fair
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Reading.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Getting a word in edgewise.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Discovering morning.
What is your greatest fear?
Converting kilometers to miles.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Santa Claus.
Which living person do you most admire?
Elvis.
Who are your heroes in real life?
The consumer.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
While in New York, tolerance.
Outside New York, intolerance.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Talent.
What is your favorite journey?
The road of artistic excess.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sympathy and originality.
Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
“Chthonic,” “miasma.”
What is your greatest regret?
That I never wore bellbottoms.
What is your current state of mind?
Pregnant.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
My fear of them (wife and son excluded).
What is your most treasured possession?
A photograph held together by cellophane tape of Little Richard that I bought in 1958, and a pressed and dried chrysanthemum picked on my honeymoon in Kyoto.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Living in fear.
Where would you like to live?
Northeast Bali or south Java.
What is your favorite occupation?
Squishing paint on a senseless canvas.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
The ability to return books.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The ability to burp on command.
What are your favorite names?
Sears & Roebuck.
What is your motto?
“What” is my motto.
Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire is a treat in its colorful totality. For a similar compendium of wisdom from cultural icons, see LIFE Magazine’s 1991 volumeThe Meaning of Life, then revisit Bowie’s 75 must-read books.

alice no país da sustentabilidade: mimi & ima


SATO, Michèle. Alice no país da sustentabilidadeCuiabá: GPEA-UFMT, série Cadernos Pedagógicos, 2011.



Ilustração de Imara Quadros


























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Beyond Burton: Art Inspired by Alice In Wonderland

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/03/01/art-inspired-by-alice-in-wonderland/


Beyond Burton: Art Inspired by Alice In Wonderland

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Floating children, the rabbit hole of the social web, and what Dali has to do with manga.
We’re all about the cross-pollination of disciplines and creative domains. So we love seeing one kind of art inspire another inspire another. Take Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, on the lips — and eyeballs — of the world with this week’s much- anticipated release. The film was, of course, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s 1865 children’s classic of the same name (which also sprouted two other excellent films, one in 1933, starring a trippy Cary Grant, and one in1966 for the BBC), and has in turn inspired a variety of artwork in its own right. Today, we focus on three such examples of art inspired by Alice.
NAOTO HATTORI
Japanese-born, New-York-based artist Naoto Hattori has a very distinct, Salvador-Dali-meets-manga aesthetic. This illustration inspired by Alice In Wonderland is one of the most stunning pieces of digital artwork we’ve seen in months.
Hattori’s work is part of the Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at Gallery Nucleus, which opened this weekend and features interpretations of the iconic story by artists who worked on Burton’s feature film and beyond.
ELENA KALIS
From Moscow-born, Bahamas-based artist-turned-underwater-photographer Elena Kalis comes Alice In Waterland, a surreal and whimsical underwater series that blends the alternate-reality feel of Carroll’s world with a wink at the wicked innocence of Burton’s representations.
We love Kalis’ incredible play of light and color, amplified by the water’s reflective properties in a way that combines softness with intensity to a stunning effect.
CHRISTINA TSEVIS
You may recall Greek illustrator Christina Tsevis, whom we interviewed a few months ago. Much to our delight, Christina recently got in touch with us to let us know that GlamourGreece discovered her via our interview and asked her to create a series ofAlice In Wonderland illustrations for the magazine, some of which were reprinted as t-shirts.
Brimming with Christina’s signature style of 2D/3D haunting innocence, the work is a beautiful journey into texture, color and pure whimsy.
Here’s to the power of the social web, the ultimate ride down the rabbit hole.

The Best Illustrations from 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/07/best-illustrations-alice-in-wonderland/


The Best Illustrations from 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland

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Down the rabbit hole in enchanting reimaginings.
On July 4, 1862, English mathematician and logician Charles Dodgson boarded a small boat with a few friends. Among them was a little girl named Alice Liddell. To entertain her and her sisters as they floated down the river between Oxford and Godstow, Dodgson fancied a whimsical story, which he’d come to publish three years later under the pseudonym Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderlandwent on to become one of the most beloved children’s books of all time, and my all-time favorite.
In the century and a half since Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations, the Carroll classic has sprouted everything from a pop-up book adaptation to awitty cookbook to a quantum physics allegory, and hundreds of artists around the world have reimagined it with remarkable creative vision. After my recent highlights of the best illustrations for Tolkien’s The Hobbit, here come the loveliest visual interpretations of the timeless book.
LISBETH ZWERGER (1999)
As an enormous admirer of Austrian artistLisbeth Zwerger’s creative vision — her illustrations for L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz and Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant are absolutely enchanting — I was thrilled to track down a used copy of a sublime out-of-print edition of Alice in Wonderland (public library) featuring Zwerger’s inventive, irreverent, and tenderly tantalizing drawings, published in 1999.
What makes Zwerger’s aesthetic particularly bewitching is her ability render even the wildest feats of fancy in a soft and subdued style that tickles the imagination into animating the characters and scenes with life.
The book begins with Carroll’s prefatory poem from the book, which recounts the afternoon boat trip on which he first told the Alice in Wonderland story to the three little Liddell sisters — Lorina (“Prima”), Alice (“Secunda”), the real-life girl who inspired the tale, and Edith (“Tertia”):
All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
Our wanderings to guide.
Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?
Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to “begin it”:
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
“There will be nonsense in it!”
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.
Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast —
And half believe it true.
And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
“The rest next time—” “It is next time!”
The happy voices cry.
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out—
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.
Alice! A childish story take,
And with a gentle hand,
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s wither’d wreath of flowers
Pluck’d in far-off land.
Though this enchanting edition is currently out of print, you can still find used copies online and at the library. Some of Zwerger’s prints, including one of theAlice cover illustration, are available on ArtKandy.
See more here.
RALPH STEADMAN (1973)
Among the most singular and weirdly wonderful interpretations of the beloved story is the 1973 gem Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland Illustrated by Ralph Steadman(public libraryAbe Books), more than twenty years before Steadman’s spectacularillustrations for Orwell’s Animal Farm. Barely in his mid-thirties at the time, the acclaimed British cartoonist — best-known today for hiscollaborations with Hunter S. Thompson and his unmistakable inkblot dog drawings — brings to the Carroll classic his singular semi-sensical visual genius, blending the irreverent with the sublime.
(Because, you know, it’s not a tea party until somebody flips the bird.)
Should you find a surviving copy, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland Illustrated by Ralph Steadman is an absolute treat in its entirety. See more of ithere.
TOVE JANSSON (1966)
In 1959, three years before the publication of her gorgeous illustrations for The Hobbit and nearly two decades after her iconic Moomin characters were born, celebrated Swedish-speaking Finnish artist Tove Jansson was commissioned to illustrate a now-rare Swedish edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (public library), crafting a sublime fantasy experience that fuses Carroll’s Wonderland with Jansson’s Moomin Valley. The publisher, Åke Runnquist, thought Jansson would be a perfect fit for the project, as she had previously illustrated a Swedish translation of Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark — the 1874 book in which the word “snark” actually originated — at Runnquist’s own request.
When Runnquist received her finished illustrations in the fall of 1966, he immediately fired off an excited telegram to Jansson: “Congratulations forAlice — you have produced a masterpiece.”
What an understatement.
In 2011, London’s Tate Museum published an English edition of Janssen’sAlice, but copies of that are also scarce outside the U.K. Luckily, this gem can still be found in some public libraries and, occasionally, online.
See more here.
LEONARD WEISGARD (1949)
One of the most beautiful editions of the Carroll classic is also one of the earliest color ones — a glorious 1949 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (public library), illustrated by artistLeonard Weisgard. The vibrant, textured artwork exudes a certain mid-century boldness that makes it as much a timeless celebration of the iconic children’s book as it is a time-capsule of bygone aesthetic from the golden age of illustration and graphic design.
JOHN VERNON LORD (2011)
“Words mean more than we mean to express when we use them,” Lewis Carroll once wrote in a letter to a friend, “so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer means.”
That’s what British artist John Vernon Lord— one of the most imaginative literary illustrators working today, who also gave us those spectacular recent illustrations for James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake — sought to embody in his special ultra-limited-editionThrough the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (public library), published in 2011 in a run of only 420 signed and numbered copies, of which 98 came with a special set of prints.
Lord writes in the afterword to his glorious edition:
There is hardly anything new to be said about Lewis Carroll’s two ‘Alice’ books. So much has been written about them. Their contents have been probed by the scalpels of psychoanalysts, literary theorists, annotators, enthusiasts and the journalists. Perhaps I should include illustrators among this group, for it is the illustrator’s duty to get to grips with the text and thus make a visual commentary upon it.
Readers of the text and viewers of the illustrations also make a book their own. Each one of us interprets stories and pictures in our own way and each one of us is unique. . . . [But] I think we have to be careful not to look for too many possible meanings that we might think may be lurking within the text of Carroll’s Alice books. It is very tempting to do so and many writers have done just that, sometimes disturbingly, often without evidence, and sometimes in a most delightfully illuminating way.
And yet Lord’s own illustrations invite a wealth of meaning — the most “delightfully illuminating” kind possible. He argues that illustrators of classics like Carroll’s have the special duty of “confounding people’s expectations,” as readers are already well familiar with the stories and long “to be given a different slant to a familiar narrative.” I was fortunate enough to hunt down one of these rare editions — here’s a taste of Lord’s unparalleled genius:
If you’re able to track one down, do treat yourself to a copy of Lord’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There — it’s absolutely gorgeous. See more of it here.
SALVADOR DALÍ (1969)
In 1969, Salvador Dalí was commissioned by New York’s Maecenas Press-Random House to illustrate a special edition of the Carroll classic, consisting of12 heliogravures — one for each chapter of the book and an original signed etching in four colors as the frontispiece. Distributed as the publisher’s book of the month, the volume went on to become one of the most sought-after Dalí suites of all time — even rarer than Dalí’s erotic vintage cookbook and his illustrations for Don Quixotethe essays of MontaigneRomeo and JulietThe Divine Comedy.
Frontispiece
Down the Rabbit Hole
The Pool of Tears
A Caucus Race and a Long Tale
The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
Advice From a Caterpillar
Pig and Pepper
Mad Tea Party
The Queen's Croquet Ground
The Mock Turtle's Story
The Lobster's Quadrille
Who Stole the Tarts?
Alice's Evidence
See more, including a hands-on video tour of the folio case, here.
YAYOI KUSAMA (2012)
In 2012, Yayoi Kusama, Japan’s most celebrated contemporary artist, unleashed her signature dotted magic onto a gorgeous edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland(public library) from Penguin UK and book-designer-by-day, analog-data-visualization-artist-by-night Stefanie Posavec.
Since childhood, Kusama has had a rare condition that makes her see colorful spots on everything she looks at. Her vision, both literally and creatively, is thus naturally surreal, almost hallucinogenic. Her vibrantAlice artwork, sewn together in a magnificent fabric-bound hardcover tome, becomes an exquisite embodiment of Carroll’s story and his fascination with the extraordinary way in which children see and explore the ordinary world.
Kusama’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a breathtaking piece of visual philosophy to complement Carroll’s timeless vision. See more of it, including a short trailer, here.
BONUS: ALICE IN WONDERLAND POP-UP BOOK (2003)
Those of us enchanted by imaginative pop-up books — from an adaptation of The Little Prince to the life of Leonardo da Vinci to anaughty Victoriana — are bound to fall in love with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation (public library) by pop-up book artist and paper engineer Robert Sabuda. Originally published in 2003 — three years after Sabuda’s equally enchantingadaptation of The Wizard of Oz and five years before his take on Peter Pan — the book is a kind of “Victorian peep show” version of the Lewis Carroll classic.
Then the Queen, quite out of breath, said to Alice, ‘Have you seen the Mock Turtle yet?’
‘No,’ said Alice. ‘I don’t even know what a Mock Turtle is.’
‘It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,’ said the Queen.