When an established philosopher of science suddenly turns all his efforts to the realm of art, something new and a little different is bound to be the written result. This study is the sixth of Bachelard's unconventional excursions into the and being of the poetic image. (Other titles include The Psychoanalysis of Fire, Air and Revery.) He calls it a ""phenomenological"" inquiry into the origins of consciousness where an image suddenly appears as a ""phenomenon,"" real and convincing in itself. For him, a house, an attic, a shell, a nest are not metaphors signifying something else, but full-blown images that spring spontaneously from (""that outmoded word"") the soul. Here he is concerned with the images of ""felicitous space"": the house that means so much because it ""allows one to dream in peace""; the nooks and corners (""to curl up is part of the verb, to inhabit""); miniature images like Tom Thumb; immense space; doors and their relation to the dialectic of within and without. All of these things attract us in life as well as in their constant appearances in poetry, abundant examples of which are quoted here, mostly from the French. Bachelard offers a consummate ""collection of daydreams,"" some of them so obvious once he points them out that the reader soon starts on his own excursion into the ""sites of his intimate life,"" Unfortunately, this heavily philosophical work doesn't digest easily enough for general reading. A valuable far-out contemplation of the familiar.