"...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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Thursday, February 25, 2010

George Quasha on Ta'wil and other matters - Corbin & Poetry #19

I received a nice note from George Quasha  in which he points out that he has posted an edited, more readable and more complete version of the landmark 1974 piece "Ta'wil Or How to Read" that I posted in December. It can be found at his website here: Ta'wil Or how to Read.

He speaks of "the curious phenomenon of Corbin who continues to hold a primary place in the imagination whatever one's other interests/commitments/practices.  There's not much like it--text with intrinsic interest that somehow manifests the actual quality of its subject matter (text as containing its own ta'wil in the very manner of its unfolding-- as it were, ta'wil of the possible ta'wil)." He continues, "The historical precedent and the inherent principle of ta'wil remains important to me and to others.  At some point I would like to address this in a way that extends our discussion in that dialogical text.  It has to do with what I call "the principle of principle" in my discussion of "principle art" (including a poetics of principle).  I speak about this in "Configuring Principle," as well as in the Prologue to An Art of Limina. Both of these are online at: Configuring Principle, and An Art of Limina." April 27, 2010: See this on The Art of Limina.

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