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A Bachelardian Concrete Metaphysics

Miles Kennedy

This book examines the notion of ‘the homely’ which rests at the foundation of Gaston Bachelard’s concrete metaphysics. In order to trace the development of this effaced notion through the history of contemporary Continental philosophy and literature, this study progresses along two distinct arcs. One is presented in a traditional chronological fashion whereby the reader is invited to dig down into the enormous chasm set forth in Martin Heidegger’s writing and its reception; become lost in Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves; climb out from this labyrinth into the maternal home; and, finally, come slowly to rest in Gaston Bachelard’s concrete metaphysics. Then a Bachelardian topoanalysis is applied to these images drawn from philosophy and literature, metaphysical and concrete expression, in order to follow a second, more significant arc along which progressively more primal spaces are uncovered. This second arc leads back, ultimately, to the foundation of concrete metaphysics: home. Through this topoanalysis the author articulates a fundamental insight about the human desire to have ‘a place of one’s own’, a warm and comfortable, fixed and fixing space in which to set ourselves apart from the strife and turmoil of ‘The World’.
Contents: The Poetics of Space – Being and Time – Anxiety and Reverie – Self and Other – Existentialism and its other – Heidegger’s metaphysics of Being-in – Danielewski’s concrete Being-in – The metaphysics of Being-within – Concrete Being-within – Bachelard’s Concrete Metaphysics – French interpretations of Heidegger – Apocalyptic thinking and the accent on war – Being-toward-death and the turn/return to beginnings – Post-postmodernism – Luce Irigaray on maternality – Levinas and life after death.