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A pretty house makes winter more poetic, and winter increases the poetry of the dwelling

A pretty house makes winter more poetic, and winter increases the poetry of the dwelling A pretty house makes winter more poetic, and winter increases the poetry of the dwelling
Source : Joanna Draws
The poetics of space
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The poetics of space
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Although he is, at the core of his being, a city dweller, Baudelaire feels the increase in privacy value when a house is attacked by winter. In Les paradis artificiels (ed. The artificial paradises), he tells of the happiness of Thomas de Quincey, locked in winter, while he reads, Kant, helped by the idealism of opium. The scene takes place in a "cottage. "And we are very warm, because it is cold outside. In the continuation of this "artificial paradise" plunged into winter, Baudelaire says that the dreamer asks for a harsh winter. "Every year he asks the sky for as much snow, hail and frost as it can hold. He needs a Canadian winter, a Russian winter. His nest will be warmer, milder, from Wales. "Doesn't a pretty house make winter more poetic, and doesn't winter increase the poetry of the house? The white cottage sat at the bottom of a small closed valley of high enough mountains; it was, as if swaddled with shrubs." (...). We feel as if we were in the protective centre of the house in the valley, "swaddled", ourselves too, in the fabrics of winter. And we feel warm, because it's cold outside. 

Baudelaire gave us a centred painting; he led us to the centre of a reverie that we can then take for ourselves (...) our most personal memories can come to live here. (...) Like Edgar Poe, a great dreamer of curtains, Baudelaire, in order to caulk the house surrounded by winter, still asks for "heavy curtains undulating down to the floor". Behind the dark curtains, it seems that the snow is whiter. Everything is activated when contradictions accumulate. In Curiosités esthétiques (ed. Aesthetic Curiosities), Baudelaire also speaks of a painting by Lavieille which represents "a thatched cottage on the edge of a wood" in winter, "the sad season". And yet: "Some of the effects that Lavieille has often rendered seem to me," says Baudelaire, "to be fragments of winter happiness." The winter evoked is a reinforcement of the happiness of living. In the realm of the imagination alone, the winter evoked increases the home's residential value. If we were asked to do a dreamlike appraisal of Thomas de Quincey's cottage, revived by Baudelaire, we would say that the bland smell of opium, an atmosphere of drowsiness, lingers there. Nothing tells us the valour of the walls, the courage of the roof. The house does not struggle. It seems that Baudelaire only knows how to lock himself up in curtains. This lack of struggle is often the case with houses in winter, which can be found in literature. In any case, beyond the inhabited house, the winter cosmos is a simplified cosmos. It is a non-home in the style where the metaphysician speaks of a non-me. From the house to the non-home all contradictions are easily ordered. In the house, everything is different, multiplies. In the winter, the house receives reserves of intimacy, subtleties of intimacy. In the world outside the house, snow erases steps, blurs paths, muffles noise, masks colours. One feels in action a cosmic negation by the universal whiteness. The house dreamer knows all this, feels all this, and by the diminishing being of the outside world he experiences an increase in intensity of all values of intimacy.

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