Here we are at the very core of the thesis we wish to defend in the present essay: reverie is under the sign of the anima. When the reverie is truly profound, the being who comes to dream within us is our anima. For a philosopher who takes his inspiration from phenomenology, a reverie on reverie is very exactly a phenomenology of the anima, and it is by coordinating reveries on reverie that he hopes to constitute a "Poetics of reverie". In other words, the poetics of reverie is a poetics of the anima.
The reverie we intend to study is poetic reverie. This is a reverie which poetry puts on the right track, the track an expanding consciousness follows. This reverie is written, or, at least, promises to be written. It is already facing the great universe of the blank page. Then images begin to compose and fall into place.
A 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. If the dreamer had "the gift" he would turn his reverie into a work. And this work would be grandiose since the dreamed world is automatically grandiose.
A certain amount of reverie is good, like a narcotic in discreet doses. It soothes the fever, occasionally high, of the brain at work, and produces in the mind a soft, fresh vapor that corrects the all too angular contours of pure thought, fills up the gaps and intervals here and there, binds them together, and dulls the sharp corners of ideas. But too much reverie submerges and drowns. Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie it's pleasure. To replace thought with reverie is to confound poison with nourishment.
Childhood is a human water, a water which comes out of the shadows. This childhood in the mists and glimmers, this life in the slowness of limbo gives us a certain layer of births. What a lot of beings we have begun! What a lot of lost springs which have nevertheless, flowed! Reverie toward our past then, reverie looking for childhood seems to bring back lives which which have never taken place, lives which have been imagined. Reverie is a mnemonics of the imagination. In reverie we re-enter into contact with possibilities which destitute has not been able to make use of.
It is quite evident that a barrier must be cleared in order to escape the psychologists and enter into a realm which is not "auto-observant", where we ourselves no longer divide ourselves into observer and observed. Then the dreamer is completely dissolved in his reverie. His reverie is his silent life. It is that silent peace which the poet wants to convey to us.
Reveries of idealization develop, not by letting oneself be taken in by memories, but by constantly dreaming the values of a being whom one would love. And that is the way a great dreamer dreams his double. His magnified double sustains him." - Gaston Bachelard, "Reveries on Reverie (Anima - Animus)", The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos, Page 88
The demands of our reality function require that we adapt to reality, that we constitute ourselves as a reality and that we manufacture works which are realities. But doesn't reverie, by its very essence, liberate us from the reality function? From the moment it is considered in all its simplicity, it is perfectly evident that reverie bears witness to a normal useful irreality function which keeps the human psyche on the fringe of all the brutality of a hostile and foreign non-self.
If there is any realm where distinction is especially difficult, it is the realm of childhood memories, the realm of beloved images harbored in memory since childhood. These memories which live by the image and in virtue of the image become, at certain times of our lives and particularly during the quiet age, the origin and matter of a complex reverie: the memory dreams, and reverie remembers.
Or... maybe I'm not going crazy. 'Maybe I'm some sort of android-cyborg-clone-thing, and I'm just breaking down. I'm not sure which way is worse. Dad laughs. 'You're not in your right mind, dear, ' he says. 'No, no, no, you're not.' And then- -Silence. Dad fades away. The reverie chair disappears. There's just blackness. I remember then that I am in the reverie of something dead. Whatever that thing was, it was dead. And, just as I'm starting to wonder if, perhaps, I have died, too, I see a light, far away in the corner of the dreamscape. The light isn't soft; it's not glowing. It crackles like silent lightning, burning with electricity, sparks flying out and fizzling in the dark. I don't know why-it makes no sense, the way dreams often don't-but I want to touch the light. So I do.
Everybody wants life to speak to them with special kindness. Every personal story begs to be steered toward reverie, toward some relief from unpleasant truths: That you are a self, that beyond anything else you want the best for that self. That, if it is to be you or someone else, you need it to be you, no matter what.
Reverie is commonly classified among the phenomena of psychic detente. It is lived out in a relaxed time which has no linking force. Since it functions with inattention, it is often without memory. It is a flight from out of the real that does not always find a consistent unreal world.
What do you think?" she asked, snapping him out of his reverie. "How am I doing?"... He squatted down beside her. "You did a good job." Their knees touched but instead of pulling away, Sam held her position, pressing ever so slightly against him. "Really." Her voice took on a teasing tone. "Or are you just saying that because I'm a drywall virgin and you want me to have good memories about my first time?
As evening approached, I came down from the heights of the island, and I liked then to go and sit on the shingle in some secluded spot by the lake; there the noise of the waves and the movement of the water, taking hold of my senses and driving all other agitation from my soul, would plunge me into delicious reverie in which night often stole upon me unawares.
No one was irritable; we have never known anyone to remain unhappy while digesting a good meal. We enjoy lingering in a becalmed state, a kind of midpoint between the reverie of a thinker and the contentment of a cud-chewing animal, a state that should be termed the physical melancholy of gastronomy.
Honore de Balzac
The psychology of the alchemist is that of reveries trying to constitute themselves in experiments on the exterior world. A double vocabulary must be established between reverie and experiment. The exaltation of the names of substances is the preamble to experiments on the "exalted" substances.
Religion, according to Alfred North Whitehead, is a phenomenon that begins in wonder and ends in wonder. Feelings of awe, reverence, and gratitude are primary, and these can never be learned from books. We gain them from sitting high on a cliff side, gazing at the sea, lost in reverie and listening to the laughter of children.
Gary A. Kowalski
She did it, though she hated opera. She hated everything about it. The overblown sense of drama. The violence and lewdness. No one had ever died of heartbreak in Reverie. Betrayal never led to murder. Those things didn't happen anymore. They had the Realms now. They could experience anything without taking risks. Now, life was Better than Real.
The image can only be studied through the image, by dreaming images as they gather in reverie. It is a non-sense to claim to study imagination objectively since one really receives the image only if he admires it. Already in comparing one image to another, one runs the risk of losing participation in its individuality.
All that was neither a city, nor a church, nor a river, nor color, nor light, nor shadow: it was reverie. For a long time, I remained motionless, letting myself be penetrated gently by this unspeakable ensemble, by the serenity of the sky and the melancholy of the moment. I do not know what was going on in my mind, and I could not express it; it was one of those ineffable moments when one feels something in himself which is going to sleep and something which is awakening.
and to this hour the image of Carmilla return to mind with ambiguous alterations-sometimes the playful, languid, beautiful girl; sometimes the writhing fiend I saw in the ruined church; and often from a reverie I have started, fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing room door.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
We believe we can also show that words do not have exactly the same psychic "weight" depending on whether they belong to the language of reverie or to the language of daylight life-to rested language or language under surveillance-to the language of natural poetry or to the language hammered out by authoritarian prosodies.
While the vaccine discovery was progressive, the joy I felt at the prospect before me of being the instrument destined to take away from the world one of its greatest calamities [smallpox], blended with the fond hope of enjoying independence and domestic peace and happiness, was often so excessive that, in pursuing my favourite subject among the meadows, I have sometimes found myself in a kind of reverie.
Pain or not, I would most likely walk around in a suicidal reverie the rest of my life, never actually doing anything about it. Was there a psychological term for that? Was there a disease that involved an intense desire to die, but no will to go through with it? Couldn't talk and thoughts of suicide be considered a whole malady of their own, a special subcategory of depression in which the loss of a will to live has not quite been displaced by a determination to die?
The priestess of Artemis took hold of her almost with the violence of a lover, and whisked her away into a languid ecstasy of reverie. She communicated her own enthusiasm to the girl, and kept her mind occupied with dreams, faery-fervid, of uncharted seas of glory on which her galleon might sail, undiscovered countries of spice and sweetness, Eldorado and Utopia and the City of God.
It's important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don't necessarily nurture soul. The soul has different concerns, of equal value: downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people; and any animal's rhythm of rest and activity.
A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs-especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past-are incitements to reverie. The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is enhanced by distance.
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. Here, we are touching the realm of written love. It 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.
I sometimes think about old tombs and weeds That interwreathe among the bones of kings With cold and poisonous berry and black flower: Or ruminate upon the skulls of steeds Frailer than shells and on those luminous wings - The shoulder blades of Princes of fled power, Which now the unrecorded sandstorms grind Into so wraith-like a translucency Of tissue-thin and aqueous bone - A Reverie of Bone
There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make one almost enamoured of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms more terrible than reality itself, and instinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those whose minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie.
May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.
Wounds heal. Scars fade. Awful memories can be overwritten with better ones if given the chance. The little imperfections of our psyches become overshadowed by the people whose love we cherish because they cherish us despite our faults; physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise. This thing we call the human condition with all its bittersweet blind corners and senseless humor evolves from within ourselves and not because of some pre-ordained reverie we desire to cast in the constellations. All in all it is what makes life worth living.
One June evening, when the orchards were pink-blossomed again, when the frogs were singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and the air was full of the savor of clover fields and balsamic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window. She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she had fallen into wide-eyed reverie, looking out past the boughs of the Snow Queen, once more bestarred with its tufts of blossom.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
You appear to me not to have understood the nature of my body and mind. Partly from ill-health, and partly from an unhealthy and reverie-like vividness of Thoughts, and (pardon the pedantry of the phrase) a diminished Impressibility from Things, my ideas, wishes, and feelings are to a diseased degree disconnected from motion and action. In plain and natural English, I am a dreaming and therefore an indolent man. I am a Starling self-incaged, and always in the Moult, and my whole Note is, Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of head or hands. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.
Henry David Thoreau
Contemplating a flame perpetuates a primordial reverie. It separates us from the world and enlarges our world as dreamers. In itself the flame is a major presence, but being close to it makes us dream of far away, too far away. The flame is there, feeble and tiny, struggling to stay in existence, and the dreamer goes on to dream of elsewhere, losing his own being by dreaming on a grand, on a too grand scale by dreaming of the world.
Oh, it doesn't work at all. That's the problem! It's an endless, halting parade of inspections, bribes, and nonsense-but if you're aboard a Texas vessel, you'll find less inconvenience along the way." "It's because of their guns!" declared Mr. Henderson, once more escaping his reverie, bobbing out of it as if to gasp for air. "Concise, my love." Mrs. Henderson gave him a smile. "And correct. Texans are heavily armed and often impatient. They don't need to be transporting arms and gunpowder to create a great nuisance for anyone who stops them, so they tend to be stopped...less often.
A certain ultra-dignified gentleman of unusual prominence carried himself so stiffly that nobody felt free to call him by his first name. He quarreled with a friend of earlier days and from then on the two never spoke. The day the friend died an associate found the ultra-dignified gentleman staring through the window. When he came out of his reverie, he soliloquized with a sigh, ""He was the last to call me John."" Is any man really entitled to regard himself a success who has failed to inspire at least a goodly number of fellow mortals to greet him by his first name?
B. C. Forbes
It is said that when a person is experiencing death, and when shards of life begins to disintegrate from his mortal body, he starts getting a flashback of his entire life right in front of his eyes, like a reverie - a dream, or sometimes even a nightmare. When a person is dying, he can get a brief look of all the significant milestones of his life right in front of his eyes, as if time doesn't exist and he is still right there, in that moment, where everything is possible; where he can get a piece of forever, while living in that uninvited flashback, and dying in his life, both at the same time.
Don't wake me from this dream; I want to stay, please let me stay. Reverie seems so much better to me; go away, please go away. In reality I'm swimming upstream, shouting: mayday mayday mayday. Shall I divert course and change theme? Time to pray; yes, I will pray. To acquire a grandeur life so utterly supreme; I must begin today, no later than today. Wake up and start Living The Dream; it's time to play, come out and play.
When I go to describe something as remarkable as what I saw that day, I could only say it was a place of dreams. The water is crystalline clear, a mixture of opalescent colors and frosted with white tips. It surges forward and crashes up against the rocks below us as the sun cast a fire-like glare in the distance. Adding to my reverie is the salty smell in the air that lingers and enlivens senses that seem to have been dormant before this moment. I don't recall moving in this dream-like state but my hand moves up and cups the wind as if trying to capture it's essence. If I could have pocketed every smell and sound of this place I would have and I would defended it with my life.
Mom used to say that the thoughts in our heads were nothing more than electrical impulses. I remember Dad and her talking about this over dinner. It frustrated Dad that the human brain can fire electrical sparks and think, but that the electricity he'd pump into an android brain would never give it independent thought. The body isn't that different from a machine. Humans and androids both run on electricity. That lightning spark of energy I saw in the reverie. That was my mother's last thought, an echo of electricity, something that sparked when I entered her dreamscape. That spark is gone now. Her life is gone now. Everything that made her, her, is gone now. Faded into nothing.
Beyond the wall of the unreal city ... there is another world waiting for you. It is the old true world of the deserts, the mountains, the forests, the islands, the shores, the open plains. Go there. Be there. Walk gently and quietly deep within it. And then - May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.
Sometimes time can play tricks. One moment it idles by, an hour can seem a lifetime, such as when sitting by the river at dusk watching the bats snatching insects above the limpid waters; the breaching fish causing ringed ripples and a satisfying plop. Other times, time flashes by in an immodest fashion. So it is with the start of war. First time quivers with the last strum of a wonderful peace, the note holding in the air, mysterious and haunting, filling the listener with awe. Then, with a rising crescendo the terror starts with uncouth haste; with a boom the listener is shaken from their reverie and delivered into the servitude, of an ear-shattering cacophony.
Since I was a small girl, I have lived inside this cottage, shelted by its roof and walls. I have known of people suffering-I have not been blind to them in the way that privilege allows, the way my own husband and now my daughter are blind. It is a statement of fact and not a judgement to say Charlie and Ella's minds aren't oriented in that direction; in a way, it absolves them, whereas the unlucky have knocked on the door of my consciousness, they have emerged from the forest and knocked many times over the course of my life, and I have only occasionally allowed them entry. I've done more than nothing and much less than I could have. I have laid inside, beneath a quilt on a comfortable couch, in a kind of reverie, and when I heard the unlucky outside my cottage, sometimes I passed them coins or scraps of food, and sometimes I ignored them altogether; if I ignored them, they had no choice but to walk back into the woods, and when they grew weak or got lost or were circled by wolves, I pretended I couldn't hear them calling my name.
I had fallen into a profound dream-like reverie in which I heard him speaking as at a distance. 'And yet there is no one who communes with only one god, ' he was saying, 'and the more a man lives in imagination and in a refined understanding, the more gods does he meet with and talk with, and the more does he come under the power of Roland, who sounded in the Valley of Roncesvalles the last trumpet of the body's will and pleasure; and of Hamlet, who saw them perishing away, and sighed; and of Faust, who looked for them up and down the world and could not find them; and under the power of all those countless divinities who have taken upon themselves spiritual bodies in the minds of the modern poets and romance writers, and under the power of the old divinities, who since the Renaissance have won everything of their ancient worship except the sacrifice of birds and fishes, the fragrance of garlands and the smoke of incense. The many think humanity made these divinities, and that it can unmake them again; but we who have seen them pass in rattling harness, and in soft robes, and heard them speak with articulate voices while we lay in deathlike trance, know that they are always making and unmaking humanity, which is indeed but the trembling of their lips.
The poor young man must work for his bread; he eats; when he has eaten, he has nothing left but reverie. He enters God's theater free; he sees the sky, space, the stars, the flowers, the children, the humanity in which he suffers, the creation in which he shines. He looks at humanity so much that he sees the soul, he looks at creation so much that he sees God. He dreams, he feels that he is great; he dreams some more, and he feels that he is tender. From the egotism of the suffering man, he passes to the compassion of the contemplating man. A wonderful feeling springs up within him, forgetfulness of self, and pity for all. In thinking of the countless enjoyments nature offers, gives, and gives lavishly to open souls and refuses to closed souls, he, a millionaire of intelligence, comes to grieve for the millionaires of money. All hatred leaves his heart as all light enters his mind. And is he unhappy? No. The poverty of a young man is never miserable.
What benefits new books bring us! I would like a basket full of books telling the youth of images which fall from heaven for me every day. This desire is natural. This prodigy is easy. For, up there, in heaven, isn't paradise an immense library? But it is not sufficient to receive; one must welcome. One must, say the pedagogue and the dietician in the same voice, 'assimilate.' In order to do that, we are advised not to read too fast and to be careful not to swallow too large a bite. We are told to divide each difficulty into as many parts as possible, the better to solve them. Yes, chew well, drink a little at a time, savor poems line by line. All these precepts are well and good. But one precept orders them. One first needs a good desire to eat, drink and read. One must want to read a lot, read more, always read. Thus, in the morning, before the books piled high on my table, to the god of reading, I say my prayer of the devouring reader: 'Give us this day our daily hunger... '' - Gaston Bachelard, 'Introduction', The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos, Pages 25-26
During my stay in London I resided for a considerable time in Clapham Road in the neighbourhood of Clapham Common... One fine summer evening I was returning by the last bus 'outside' as usual, through the deserted streets of the city, which are at other times so full of life. I fell into a reverie (Tre¤umerei), and 10, the atoms were gambolling before my eyes! Whenever, hitherto, these diminutive beings had appeared to me, they had always been in motion: but up to that time I had never been able to discern the nature of their motion. Now, however, I saw how, frequently, two smaller atoms united to form a pair: how the larger one embraced the two smaller ones: how still larger ones kept hold of three or even four of the smaller: whilst the whole kept whirling in a giddy dance. I saw how the larger ones formed a chain, dragging the smaller ones after them but only at the ends of the chain. I saw what our past master, Kopp, my highly honoured teacher and friend has depicted with such charm in his Molekular-Welt: but I saw it long before him. The cry of the conductor 'Clapham Road', awakened me from my dreaming: but I spent part of the night in putting on paper at least sketches of these dream forms. This was the origin of the 'Structural Theory'.
[The fairy tale] is accused of giving children a false impression of the world they live in. But I think no literature that children could read gives them less of a false impression. I think what profess to be realistic stories for children are far more likely to deceive them. I never expected the real world to be like the fairy tales. I think that I did expect school to be like the school stories. The fantasies did not deceive me: the school stories did. All stories in which children have adventures and successes which are possible, in the sense that they do not break the laws of nature, but almost infinitely improbable, are in more danger than the fairy tales of raising false expectations... This distinction holds for adult reading too. The dangerous fantasy is always superficially realistic. The real victim of wishful reverie does not batten on the Odyssey, The Tempest, or The Worm Ouroboros: he (or she) prefers stories about millionaires, irresistible beauties, posh hotels, palm beaches and bedroom scenes-things that really might happen, that ought to happen, that would have happened if the reader had had a fair chance. For, as I say, there are two kinds of longing. The one is an askesis, a spiritual exercise, and the other is a disease.