"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Charles Olson & "Ismaeli muslimism"
This rather remarkable piece is Charles Olson's "Plan for a Curriculum of the Soul" (1968) as it appears in Rothenberg & Joris, Poems for the Millennium Vol 2, 410-11. Olson's entire "plan" was published as A Plan for a Curriculum of the Soul, Buffalo: Institute of Further Studies, 1968. 22 pp. On the left hand page we find "Ismaeli muslimism" and "the Norse & the Arabs". We know that Olson had read Corbin's "Cyclical Time in Mazdaism and Ismailism" (in English in 1957) by October 1961 when he wrote "Maximus, at the Harbor." By 1968 when this piece was composed he had also read Avicenna and the Visionary Recital (in English in 1960) which he bought in Buffalo in 1965.