Water and dreams

Jen Webb, Lorraine Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Downloads (Pure)


This essay explores dreams and dreaming with reference to Gaston Bachelard’s rather overlooked essay Water and Dreams (1941), where he defines two modes of imagination that are discrete but not disconnected. First is the formal mode that arises from emotions and sensations; next is the material mode, where images arise directly from matter: in this case, water. The phenomenological perspective he offers on water and its oneiric properties aligns very well with creative practice-led research – which, for us, comprises poetry (Jen Webb) and painting (Lorraine Webb). We explore Bachelard’s notion of dream, which departs from the conventional views to suggest a different way of understanding what dreaming might be for creative practitioners. This, the concept of waking dreams, provides one conceptual frame for the affordances of dream for creative practice. The second frame attends to the fragmentary, aleatory, and haphazard nature of living in the world, and this we draw from Bertrand Russell’s writing (1953), which incorporates both day and night dreams, and their poetic, allegorical qualities. We work through and around these two conceptual frames to reflect on the often confounding issue: how to be and to become, in a life that is both dream and concrete reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalTEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Programs
Issue numberSpecial Issue 68
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Water and dreams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this