"...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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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Olson & Corbin, continued - Corbin & Poetry #30

"The Maximus Poems are confusing if we read them without reference to the visionary identification of Gloucester with Hurqualya. If  Corbin's writings (particularly the essay on Mundus Imaginalis) are read as the best introduction one might obtain to a reading of the Maximus Poems, hopefully we may come around to a recognition of the fact that the Maximus Poems are one of the marvelous recent illustrations we have of what the world of the mundus imaginalis may be: a place beyond "literature," outside "the self," beyond questions of "audience" and "entertainment," which is where we finally arrive at an imaginal perspective on myth and history as primary tools of the soul." - Jed Rasula, "Charles Olson and Robert Duncan: Muthologistical Grounding" - Spring Journal 1979, 105.

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