"...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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Monday, April 12, 2010
It seems to me that Henry Corbin's work as a whole can perhaps be understood best not (certainly) from within the framework of Islamic Studies, or even "history of religions," but rather that of the European romantic tradition, especially as it is conceived by Rothenberg and Robinson in their landmark Volume of Romantic and Post-Romantic Poetry. The series below devoted to this book is not to be missed.
The full program is available HERE for an eight-part series on Poems for the Millennium, volume 3, The University of California Book of Romantic & Pre-Romantic Poetry, prepared by Jack Foley for presentation on Cover to Cover, his longrunning program on KPFA-FM (Pacifica Radio) in San Francisco. Show times are Wednesdays from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. beginning on April 14, barring occasional changes or preemptions.
Poems for the Millennium Volume 3 (from the publisher): The previous two volumes of this acclaimed anthology set forth a globally decentered revision of twentieth-century poetry from the perspective of its many avant-gardes. Now editors Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson bring a radically new interpretation to the poetry of the preceding century, viewing the work of the romantic and post-romantic poets as an international, collective, often utopian enterprise that became the foundation of experimental modernism. Global in its range, volume three gathers selections from the poetry and manifestos of canonical poets, as well as the work of lesser-known but equally radical poets. Defining romanticism as experimental and visionary, Rothenberg and Robinson feature prose poetry, verbal-visual experiments, and sound poetry, along with more familiar forms seen here as if for the first time. The anthology also explores romanticism outside the European orbit and includes ethnopoetic and archaeological works outside the literary mainstream. The range of volume three and its skewing of the traditional canon illuminate the process by which romantics and post- romantics challenged nineteenth-century orthodoxies and propelled poetry to the experiments of a later modernism and avant-gardism.