‘The cruelty towards others like ourselves… is difficult to imagine here as you turn to swim your twentieth length.’ Swimming and Dreaming of Elsewhere with John Berger
Keywords:Water, swimming, Berger, Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard
Swimming, like reading, is an immersive activity: words wash away, and words arise. Engaging with writings by critics who are also swimmers, principally John Berger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, this article explores their writings about swimming in relation to how being in water can ‘conjure stories from the water’, and open up particular kinds of reflection and reverie. The fluidity of water spaces creates an imaginary that enables intellectually sensuous dreaming, while the ebb and flow of movements and identifications establish a poetics of swimming as a form of life writing.
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