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Paper Information

Journal:   ADABIAT ERFANI (JOURNAL OF MYSTICAL LITERATURE OF ALZAHRA)   spring-summer 2018 , Volume 10 , Number 18 ; Page(s) 7 To 32.

From Mystics’ Imaginary to Gilbert Durand’ s Imagination

Author(s):  Karamat Nassim*, FAGHIHI HOSSEIN
* Al-Zahra University, Tehran, Iran
“ The imaginary” and “ imagination” are the essences of art and literature. However, all through history, a long-held dispute has always revolved around what they actually stand for. From illusion to dream and inspiration and divinities; from the ancient Greece to the era of Islamic philosophy and mysticism, all are linked to such concepts as imagination and the imaginary. Although these two terms are close to each other in meaning, they are actually different. “ The imaginary” played an important role in Islamic mysticism of 4th to 6th centuries (AH), and even later. In the fifth century (AH), Sohrevardi defined the symbolic universe of the imaginary. But in that period of time, i. e., the medieval period, fantasies and imaginations were thought to be the equivalents to superstition and insanity in the West. The Western Post-Romantic era witnessed a growing inclination to Eastern ideologies and concepts, where Henry Corbin and Gaston Bachelard had a pivotal role in the introduction of Eastern knowledge and beliefs to the West, which led to serious changes in the Western perspective on imagination and imaginology, as well as extension of novel methods in literary criticism of the time. But it was not before the twentieth century when Gilbert Durand, relying heavily on Eastern and Islamic teachings and the preceding approaches, took influential steps in recognizing the nature and the structure of imagination, according to anthropological studies. In this library research, in addition to defining and explicating the two similar terms of the imaginary and imagination, we examine the eastern and western-oriented theories which were the origins of Gilbert Durand’ s main theory. Accordingly, one can conclude that the contemporary Western imaginology and imaginary criticism approaches are basically indebted to the accomplishments of the Islamic scholars of the medieval period.
Keyword(s): The Imaginary,Imagination,Mysticism,Philosophy,Gilbert Durand
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