Philosophers' Secret Fire: A History of the Human Imagination

Overview

The visionary tradition of spirits, gods, and demons continues to subvert our rational universe, erupting from the shadows in times of intense religious and philosophical transition. In this dazzling history, Patrick Harpur links together fields as far apart as Greek philosophy and depth psychology, Renaissance magic and tribal ritual, Romantic poetry and the ecstasy of the shaman, to trace how societies have used myths to make sense of the world.
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Overview

The visionary tradition of spirits, gods, and demons continues to subvert our rational universe, erupting from the shadows in times of intense religious and philosophical transition. In this dazzling history, Patrick Harpur links together fields as far apart as Greek philosophy and depth psychology, Renaissance magic and tribal ritual, Romantic poetry and the ecstasy of the shaman, to trace how societies have used myths to make sense of the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Brother David Steindl-Rast
An intellectual treat and a thrill for one's fantasy, this book is aglow with power to re-enchant our world.
Dianne Skafte
Harpur leads us through history's secret chambers with such grace of language and insight that we forget the hour.... Required reading.
Patricia Monaghan
This illuminating book flashes with the fire of its title.... Learned and engaging at once...a welcome contribution.
Fortean Times
Splendid...brilliant...accessible.... He writes clearly, passionately and intimately.
Spring Journal
Delightful...particularly useful as an introductory text.
From The Critics
[Harpur's] brilliant explanations clarify and transmute mystifying occult philosophies in a text that is accessible to the general reader.
Fortean Times
[Harpur's] brilliant explanations clarify and transmute mystifying occult philosophies in a text that is accessible to the general reader.
Library Journal
This fascinating book provides a historical look at the expressions of human imagination and how ideas of reality have been shaped over time. Harpur (Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld) examines a wide range of imaginary creatures and concepts, including those found in folklore and mythology, religion and philosophy, poetry and drama, spiritualism and psychology. He thoughtfully presents traditions from around the world and illustrates the cultural similarities and symbolic role each plays in society and for the individual. The author demonstrates that in modern times beliefs have moved away from explanations based on the supernatural toward an overreliance on scientific interpretations. However, he also shows that even scientific methods and models rely on the imagination and that new concepts of reality continue to be created. The book is scholarly in tone, presenting a wealth of literary allusions and erudite analysis. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-Eloise R. Hitchcock, Middle Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Murfreesboro Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566634854
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality was critically acclaimed. He lives in Dorchester, England.
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