"...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, October 17, 2019

A Corbin Drama!!! This is big news.

Splinters of a Careless Alphabet
A staged reading of a new play by Roxanne Varzi

Sunday, November 10
Winifred Smith Hall
University of California, Irvine

On the eve of a major protest what can French philosophy possibly have to do with the Iranian Revolution?

The setting is a chance encounter on a snowy Tehran night between an Iranian student and a French philosopher. Ali, a newlywed graduate student at Tehran University goes to return a book at the University and ends up in the office of French philosopher Henri Corbin. Unable to pass up on the opportunity to speak with Corbin, Ali spends the evening discussing Mystical Islam while his new wife, Leili is out protesting. He hears gunshots and runs out into the crowd to look for her.
We regard the 1979 Iranian Revolution as an Islamic movement, few know that a French philosopher may have had an influence on the Revolution. Splinters of a Careless Alphabet brings philosophy, history and religion to life through three students and a prominent Western philosopher on the eve of the Iranian Revolution when they are forced to come to terms with the choices they made that night and the resulting effects on their faith, relationships and ultimately the future of the country.

Splinters of a Careless Alphabet has been read at the American Anthropological Association’s Visual Anthropology Festival in San Jose in 2018, at University of California Irvine’s graduate student Anthropology in Transit and at The Hopscotch Reading Room in Berlin, Germany. 

This is the first staged reading and will follow a workshop of the play by professional actors under the direction of Elina Dos Santos, Co-Artistic Director of the Rogue Machine Theatre, and Resident Director of the Pacific Resident Theatre, both in Los Angeles, CA. 

Roxanne Varzi is a writer, artist, filmmaker and professor of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine. She was born in Iran to an American mother and Iranian father and migrated to the U.S shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

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