"...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.
From the Abstract: This dissertation examines the reconfiguration of the limits of
representation in reference to the intermediary function of angels. The
Modernist engagement with the figure of the angel entailed, primarily, a
reconsideration of the problem of representation as well as an attempt
to trace the contours of a poetics that plays itself outside the mimetic
understanding of representation. My contention is that this
transformation of literary referentiality was not simply a disengagement
of art from reality but, rather, from the truth-falsity,
reality-fiction, subject-object dichotomies. The angel, defined as the
figure of passage par excellence , but also as the agency that induces
the transformation of the visible in the invisible and vice versa,
appears both as a model/archetype and as a guide towards the
illumination of this intermediary aesthetic. Working with the
joined perspectives from angelology, contemporary phenomenology, and
poetics, this dissertation is an extended overview of the notion of
intermediary spaces, as well as an attempt to probe the relevance of
this concept for the field of literary studies.
Thanks to Hadi Fakhoury for pointing out this dissertation which was co-supervised by Paul Colilli and relies extensively on Corbin.