"...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, August 30, 2010

Ralph Maud on Olson's "Kingfishers" & Corbin

Ralph Maud has again pointed out Corbin's influence on Charles Olson. In the Epilogue to What Does Not Change: The Significance of Charles Olson's "The Kingfishers" (London: Associated University Presses, 1998) he draws attention to a poem dated 11 February 1966 (pp. 501-2 in The Maximus Poems, ed. Butterick, 1983). As he has pointed out before, the story of the Guardians and the Noble Scribes in Corbin's Avicenna book (p. 148 and elsewhere) had considerable importance for Olson. Maud's comments are on pages 130-1 and I offer those pages below. The relevant paragraphs begin "In his twenty-first year as a poet..."
Ralph Maud - What Does Not Change, Pp 130-1.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, your postings continue to be invaluable. Many thanks.