"...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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Monday, June 22, 2009

Andrei Tarkovsky in New York

I generally resist posting items that are not of rather direct relevance to Henry Corbin and his concerns but I cannot pass up the chance to point out the upcoming Tarkovsky Retrospective in New York City, July 7 - 14. The Film Society of Lincoln Center is sponsoring a showing of all 7 of Tarkovsky's films plus the new documentary by Dmitry Trakovsky - details here. Tarkovsky was one of the greatest "spiritual filmakers" and I think that anyone interested in Corbin and the meaning of the imaginal can hardly help but be astounded by these films. It seems to me that his work is a stunning manifestation of the imaginal.

Ingmar Bergman said of Tarkovsky:

"My discovery of Tarkovsky's first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how. Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream."

Also not to be missed is Nathan Dunne's beautiful volume Tarkovsky.
The essential online source for all things Tarkovsky is Nostalghia.com.

The screen image is from Nostalghia.

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