"...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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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Goethe & Jung

Given Corbin's affinity for the German Romantic Tradition and his close association with Jung, this volume, and the other work of Paul Bishop, may well be of interest to readers of this blog.

Spring Journal and Spring Journal Books
Spring Journal Books
(the book publishing imprint of Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, the oldest Jungian psychology journal in the world)
Reading Goethe at Midlife
Reading Goethe at Midlife
Ancient Wisdom, German Classicism, and Jung
By Paul Bishop
The second volume in the Zurich Lecture Series in Analytical Psychology
Co-sponsored by ISAPZURICH and Spring Journal Books
ISBN: 978-1-935528-06-7
280 pp.
Price: $26.95
This book explores the history of the idea of the midlife crisis, using the writings of C.G. Jung and Goethe to investigate its relevance for today. Tracing how the "ages of humankind" became "the stages of life," in which the midlife crisis represents a pivotal moment, Paul Bishop offers a detailed analysis of a paper by Jung on this subject. He then shifts the focus to Goethe's interest in Orphic wisdom, and one of Goethe's major later poems, "Primal Words. Orphic" (Urworte. Orphisch). Using Jungian ideas to explore the psychological implications of this poem, Bishop draws on Goethe's own commentary, and other background material, to uncover its vital message.

Reading Goethe at Midlife reveals the remarkable symmetry between the ideas of Jung and Goethe. Jung's analysis of the stages of life, and his advice to heed the "call of the self," are brought into conjunction with Goethe's emphasis on the importance of hope, showing an underlying continuity of thought and relevance from ancient wisdom, via German classicism, to analytical psychology.
Praise for Reading Goethe at Midlife
At a time when many Jungians are turning to neuroscience to provide an external underpinning for Analytical Psychology, this scholarly book is very welcome: it returns to psychology's home territory, placing Jung firmly in a long cultural tradition. Impressively well-read in many fields extending from literature and the history of ideas to psychoanalysis and Jungian studies, Paul Bishop allows a text by Jung and a late poem by Goethe to mirror and enhance each other, demonstrating Jung's intellectual proximity to the tradition of German classicism. The wealth of "amplifications" that Bishop brings to the many themes treated allows us to experience a living reality - a continuity of ideas across different times and cultures.
Chapter 1: The Stages of Life and the Midlife Crisis: A Brief History of an Idea
Two Visual Starting Points – From the Ages of Humankind… – …to the Stages of Life – The Stages of Life: An Idea Comes of Age – The Midlife Crisis – Walter B. Pitkin and Edmund Bergler – Erik H. Erikson and Elliott Jaques – Gail Sheehy and Daniel J. Levinson – Other Approaches, Including the Return of the Noonday Demon – Jungian Approaches to Midlife – Literature of the Nineties – Recent French Approaches: Éric Deschavanne and Pierre-Henri Tavoillot, Marie de Hennezel and Bertrand Vergely
Chapter 2: The Turning Point in Life: What Conflict the Sun Must Experience at Midday
Chapter 3: Goethe's Orphism
The Cult of Orpheus – Orpheus in the Age of Romanticism – Goethe's Relation to the Orphic Mysteries – Creuzer and Hermann, Zoega and Welcker – Faust as Orpheus – Orphism, and Primal Words
Chapter 4: Primal Words. Orphic
Daimon – Chance – Eros – The Necessity of Love; or, Erotic Necessity – The Necessity of Necessity; or, Necessary Necessity – Hope – Conclusion
About the Author:
Paul Bishop, B.A., D.Phil., studied at Oxford University and is Professor of German at the University of Glasgow. His research has focused on the intellectual background to analytical psychology. His books include Analytical Psychology and German Classical Aesthetics, Jung's "Answer to Job": A Commentary, and The Dionysian Self: C.G. Jung's Reception of Friedrich Nietzsche.

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