"...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, December 5, 2008

Additions to the Bibliographies

NEW: "Henry Corbin's Teaching on Angels," by Roberts Avens, translated from the German by Hugo M. Van Woerkom; from Gorgo 18 (1988). pdf file available from Scribd requires (free) registration.

Also of Interest:
About the Imaginary by Ivor Pinto Iranzo. On Gilbert Durand.
Imagination, Imaginaire, Imaginal: Three Concepts for Defining Creative Fantasy by Corin Braga. (pdf file) at Phantasma: Center for Imagination Studies (Romanian), with a subsection "Mundus Imaginalis" referencing Henry Corbin.

And American poet Edward Hirsch comments on Corbin's influence on his poem "Late March" (audio link on this page) in Poetry Magazine, Q&A. By: Hirsch, Edward, Poetry, Jul/Aug2007, Vol. 190, Issue 4:
Q: Why does the idea of Aloneness feel so desirable in this poem?
A: The book of the Alone that I was thinking of when I wrote the poem was Henry Corbin's Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Su-fism of Ibn 'Arabi-. The phrase "alone with the alone" was coined by Plotinus in the third century and refers to a state of ecstatic transcendence. (Full text here.)

Fatima's Haram, Qom. From the Wade Photo Archive, Pattern in Islamic Art.

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