"...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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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bylebyl, Corbin, Suhrawardi

Michael Bylebyl, « From Dawn’s Art », described as "une sorte de récit évocateur, où H. Corbin joue un rôle remarquable" (Abstracta Iranica here), pp 373-380 in  Angelo-Michele Piemontese. Lewis, Franklin et Sharma, Sunil (eds.) , The Necklace of the Pleiades: Studies in Persian Literature Presented to Heshmat Moayyad on his 80th Birthday. Amsterdam & Lafayette, Indiana USA, Rozenberg Publishers & Purdue University Press, 2007, 380 pp.  SOME of this truly remarkable tale can be read at the amazon link above - I discover thanks to an alert reader that the full text of the book can be found at library.nu. Bylebyl produced the "Ismaili muslimism" fascicle for Charles Olson's Curriculum of the Soul. Here is an excerpt from "From Dawn's Art":

"When Corbin walked into the room, his appearance surprised me. He was short, portly and white-haired, not at all the image conjured up from reading his books. With a deep suave voice he spoke exclusively in a French which was unique for its highly original sentence structure. Some of this was due no doubt to his expansive imagination. Some was due to the fact that he was almost totally deaf. At the start of the lecture he turned off his hearing aid, closed his eyes, and for the next hour shared with us the treasures of his imagination. Even though some of the details of Corbin’s lecture escaped me, I was struck by the man’s presence and the way his voice seemed to inhabit the hall. He seemed to be “out there” in a way which was unnerving, especially when he intoned the phrase “monde visionaire” as though the lecture was being conducted from some other dimension of reality. A lifetime of belief had created a terre celeste which he clearly inhabited and made visible to others."


  1. Dear Tom,

    How do you, apparently single-handedly, field all this material? You do a generous service.

    In awe,


  2. Glad it's useful to someone - thanks for the support. I just putter about in what spare time I can find.