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This article is taken from PN Review 234, Volume 43 Number 4, March - April 2017.

The Golden Ratio: Poetry & Mathematics Emily Grosholz
IN HIS BOOK The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard talks about the house of childhood, the house we never leave because at first we live in it, and afterwards it lives on in us. The house of childhood organises our experience, first of all determining inside and outside, and then offering middle terms: the front porch and its steps are a middle term between the house and the town, while the back yard and garden are a middle term between the house and the wild. (In the proportion between two ratios expressed in A:B :: B:C (or  ‘A is to B as B is to C’, we call B the middle term, which brings A and C into clear relation.) It organises what is far away, because we measure ‘away’ by how far it is from home, how many hours or days of travel. Moreover, the windows of the house let in the distances, the dwindling train tracks, river or road, the fields and forest, even the cloudy-blue or starry heavens: they are set squarely on the walls within the window frames, as light comes through and we see what is outside. It also organises time.What lives in the basement or the attic? We ourselves do not eat or sleep or socialise or read there, though those rooms are part of the house: they are where we put the past, the discarded and the treasured. Finally, the house invites playing: the playroom with its gate and the fenced part of the backyard, enclosures where the toys are kept and ...


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