"...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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Friday, June 22, 2012

Rexroth & Corbin


In the theosophy of light,
The logical universal
Ceases to be anything more
Than the dead body of an angel.
What is substance? Our substance
Is whatever we feed our angel.
The perfect incense for worship
Is camphor, whose flames leave no ashes.

from Love is an Art of Time (1974)
in The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth, 702

"In [Suhrawardi’s] theosophy of Light, the entire Platonic theory of Ideas is interpreted in terms of Zoroastrian angelology.… What Aristotelianism considers as the concept of a species, the logical universal, ceases to be anything more than the dead body of an Angel." - Corbin, Creative Imagination, 22. In English, 1969.

Rexroth Reading with music from Rexroth & Barecelona by the Bay


  1. Wow. Rexroth has always been among my favorites. I'd assumed he'd read Corbin, but never caught how Corbin's text (in translation) had been folded-in there. This appears to have escaped the notice of Rexroth's editors, eh?

  2. I'd like to hear from anyone who knows anything more about his reading of Corbin.