"...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, February 16, 2012

H.D., Duncan, Corbin

I am delighted to be able to make available an important unpublished paper by Michael Boughn that will be of considerable interest to those wanting to understand the significance of Corbin for modern poetry. Boughn is co-editor (with Victor Coleman) of Robert Duncan's The H.D. Book. The Introduction to that volume has seemed to me a must-read for students of Corbin and literature. Boughn has also edited and written an Afterword to the collection Narthex and Other Stories by HD where he argues that H.D.'s fiction can be seen to work as "recitals" in the sense Corbin proposes in Avicenna - that there is an actual spiritual passage, an exegesis, in the prose. In the paper we make available here, "H.D., Robert Duncan and the question of the occult," Boughn helps clarify all at once several issues central to these subjects which I hope many readers will find as useful as I do. I am grateful to him for letting me make this document public.
H.D., Robert Duncan, And the Question of the Occult

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