‘House of Self’ in Alice Notley’s Mysteries of Small Houses.

  • Agnieszka Studzinska (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


PGR Easter Colloquim

In this paper, I discuss how Notley presents and explores the “I” – against the backdrop and structure of the house image in her poems ‘House of Self’, ‘Diversity Street’ and ‘Mysteries of Small Houses.’ I argue that in these poems, Notley is in engaged with Gaston Bachelard’s assertion in The Poetics of Space (1964) that “ A house is imagined as a concentrated being. It appeals to our consciousness of centrality” (Bachelard: 1964: 17). What Notley pursues in these poems is a discovery of the ‘oneiric house,’ a house of dream memory, which according to Gaston Bachelard “To inhabit oneirically the house we were born in means more than to inhabit it in memory. It means living in the house that is gone…” (Bachelard: 1994: 16). Notley’s investigation with the self is an exploration with the house(s) of her past in which she becomes a witness to herself.
Period20 Apr 2018
Event typeOther