"...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.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Jung Wars revisited...

Back in June 2010 I posted a very short paragraph on The Jung Wars. I was slightly annoyed at the time by the persistent refusal of so very many academics to regard Jung with anything but disdain and deep suspicion. I pointed out Shamdasani's work as something of an antidote to the prevalent misreading of Jung. I have been surprised that this post has drawn an unusually large number of page views. During my recent travels I heard tales of woe from a friend concerning the problems one can have in certain academic circles if one has an interest in Jung or in Henry Corbin. They are both persona non grata. I have tried to do my part to show why Corbin's work, in spite of some faults, might yet be useful and interesting. So, although I try now to post things not directly related to Henry Corbin on my other blog, I'll add a further note on this topic here. One other most important critic and defender of the work of Jung who I should have mentioned before is Susan Rowland. Her books so far are these: Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002), Jung As A Writer (2005) and C.G. Jung in the Humanities: Taking the Soul's Path (2010). I look forward to Psyche and Ecocriticism which is due out next summer. Rowland has recently accepted a position in the Core Faculty at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. I recently retrieved a memory of her work from the recesses of my mind since it has important bearing on my current writings on Corbin, Jung and Hillman. I wish I had recalled it sooner.


  1. Thanks for posting this Tom. As someone who is quite keen to engage with Jung and Corbin as I begin post graduate research, I am also aware that I might need to conceal these aspects of my methodology in order to be accepted/ published. It is interesting to note that Susan Rowland is safely ensconced in a Jungian 'enclave' rather than 'drawing fire' in the 'open'. Having seen the previews for 'A dangerous method' (a film about Freud, Jung and Sabina Spielrein) where Jung appears to be characterised as Mr-unprofessional-who-sleeps-with-his-patients, I can only imagine that those who might otherwise gain something by engaging with his writings will now say 'oh but he was a womaniser' as if that dissolves his contribution to psychology and the study of human nature... Similar dismissals of Heidegger due to his politics and Freud, due to his description of women, are very one dimensional un-academic excuses. The reality is that these thinkers have presented some truly radical ideas which point to a paradigm shift or augmentation in the way we think about humans and the world, and it is so much easier to dismiss them off hand. Of course the situation is even more dire in psychology departments than the humanities...

  2. Thanks for chiming in on this again. In his writing Jung gives a dignity to so much and to women in particular. Even in the case of the Miller fantasies in Symbols of Transformation, one is almost left with an envy for her. To play him as some kind of milder Josef Fritzl is out of the ball park.

  3. Do read Rowland's Feminist Revision if you haven't already - it's excellent and extremely useful.