what is not seen

The image owes neither its principle nor its power to what is visually given. To justify the poet’s conviction and the image’s frequency and naturalness, we must integrate with it those constituents that we do not see, and whose nature is not visual. They are in fact those by which material imagination is made manifest. Only a psychology of the material imagination could explain this image in its real totality, in its real life.

—Gaston Bachelard, L’Eau et le rêves

(translated by Jean-Claude Margolin, in Bachelard’s Philosophy and Poetics, 1989, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology & University Press of America)

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