“Reading has given us countless inhabited spaces”
Dreaming through books and in houses.
Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, #Dream House, L1, 1 #Antiquity*
The entrance to the panorama of Gropius is described as follows:
“One enters a room decorated in the style of Herculaneum; at its centre the passerby is drawn for a moment to a basin inlaid with shells, in which a small fountain is splashing. Straight ahead, a little flight of stairs leads to a cheerful reading room where some volumes are displayed.”
Erich Stenger, Daguerre’s Diorama in Berlin (Berlin, 1925) pp. 24-25.
Why a fountain in a covered space is conducive to daydreaming has yet to be explained. But in order to gauge the shudder of dread and exaltation that might have come over the idle visitor who stepped across his threshold, it must be remembered that the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum has taken place a generation earlier, and that the memory of the lava-death of these two cities was covertly but all the more intimately conjoined with the memory of the great Revolution. For when the sudden upheaval had put an end to the style of the ancien regime, what was here being exhumed was hastily adopted as the style of a glorious republic; and palm fronds, acanthus leaves, and meanders came to replace the rococo paintings and chinoiseries of the previous century.
The house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.
Words are little houses… to go down to the cellar is to dream, it is losing oneself in the distant corridors of an obscure etymology.
*Benjamin does tagging.