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At Home With His Memories

A shirtless man stares out a window at a cityscapeAndrew Scott in All of Us Strangers (photo by Chris Harris, courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

In The Poetics of Space, the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard writes about a simple psychological test used on children, “the house test.” He quotes the critic Anne Balif: “Asking a child to draw his house is asking him to reveal the deepest dream shelter he has found for his happiness. If he is happy, he will succeed in drawing a snug, protected house, which is well built on deeply-rooted foundations.” If he is sad, however, writes Bachelard, “The house bears traces of his distress.” For Bachelard, the home, and particularly the childhood home, is a place where “a great many […]

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