World Turned Inside Out

The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism (2003)

A deep reading of Tom Cheetham's The World Turned Inside Out could have the effect of turning the reader inside out! Not only will a person discover in this book a thorough understanding of the remarkable and important vision of Henry Corbin, the great French scholar of Iranian Islam. The reader will also be engaged by a politically useful understanding of the religion of Islam generally, of mystical and negative theology, of monotheism, of the philosophy of imagination, of language and the textures of textuality, and of the nature of reading and thinking. Among other things, a careful reading of this book can inform current interpretations of the politics of terrorism, its wars and the wars against it. In short, there exists here a shaking of the foundations of human perspectives that comes to nothing short of a radical revisioning of all attempts to make sense of the life and meaning of being in the world. - David L. Miller, Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Syracuse University, Core Faculty Member, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Author of Christs, Three Faces of God & Hells and Holy Ghosts.

A remarkable creative synthesis of the genius of Henry Corbin, the silent precursor of archetypal psychology. Tom Cheetham gives the gift of a metaphysics of interiority balancing pervasive, destructive, suffocating, spectator consciousness. And it is a convivial interiority, filled with spiritual presences. The soul can breathe again because it has found its homeland, the Soul of the World. - Robert Sardello, author of Freeing the Soul from Fear

This book is a penetrating and comprehensive introduction to and survey of the remarkable work and thought of Henry Corbin. It serves an important purpose in making Corbin's work more accessible in English. - Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies

The first book in English devoted to the great French author Henry Corbin, The World Turned Inside Out is an excellent introduction to and survey of Corbin's work and thought. Corbin is unique among twentieth-century scholars of Islam in his ability to imaginatively enter the world of the Sufi gnostics, and to apply their insights to the modern world. The World Turned Inside Out provides us with a bracing and stimulating overview of this seminal author's work and its implications: this is a book for all who suspect that, to paraphrase Plato, there is more to life than that which can be grasped in one's hands. - Arthur Versluis, Editor of Esoterica and author of Wisdom's Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition.

This book does an absolutely splendid job of opening up Corbin's thought to the general reader. Corbin's work addresses our contemporary situation in a most direct way as this book shows, and the author has made an important contribution to both the philosophy of religion and the history of religions. This is an interesting, careful and important piece of work that I hope will gain the recognition that it deserves. - Charles J. Adams, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies, McGill University

L'Association des Amis de Stella et Henry Corbin has sponsored a French translation of this book. I am deeply grateful to  Les Amis and to the translator, Hélène Senglard-Foreman. The first chapter of the French text, L'envers du Monde is available online as a pdf file. A paper version will appear in due course.

Read a review by Pierre Lory in English or in French
Reviewed by M. Ali Lakhani

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Spring Journal Books
Distributed in Europe by Daimon Publishers.