Lost Knowledge of the Imagination

By Gary Lachman

Format: Paperback

Explores the world of human imagination, and shows how, far from it being about 'make believe', imagination is an essential way that we engage with reality.

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Floris Books

Floris Books is an independent publishing company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2016 Floris won the Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year. Floris Books is the largest children's book publisher in Scotland and are well known for the Kelpies range of Scottish children's books. They also publish international children’s books and an extensive list of non-fiction books, including alternative education, agriculture, health, parenting and religion.

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The ability to imagine is at the heart of what makes us human. Through our imagination we experience more fully the world both around us and within us. Imagination plays a key role in creativity and innovation.


Until the seventeenth century, the human imagination was celebrated. Since then, with the emergence of science as the dominant worldview, imagination has been marginalised -- depicted as a way of escaping reality, rather than knowing it more profoundly -- and its significance to our humanity has been downplayed.


Yet as we move further into the strange new dimensions of the twenty-first century, the need to regain this lost knowledge seems more necessary than ever before.


This insightful and inspiring book argues that, for the sake of our future in the world, we must reclaim the ability to imagine and redress the balance of influence between imagination and science.


Through the work of Owen Barfield, Goethe, Henry Corbin, Kathleen Raine, and others, and ranging from the teachings of ancient mystics to the latest developments in neuroscience, The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination draws us back to a philosophy and tradition that restores imagination to its rightful place, essential to our knowing reality to the full, and to our very humanity itself.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Floris Books
Publication Date 19 Oct 2017
ISBN 9781782504450
Number of Pages 168

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Press Reviews

'Very important'


-- Philip Pullman


'An excellent book -- scholarly but eminently readable by anyone seeking appreciation of the spiritual.'


-- Howard Jones, Alister Hardy Society


'Gary Lachman...writes about philosophical and mystical ideas with exceptional grace, forcefulness and clarity'


-- Michael Dirda Washington Post


'Lachman...manages to make basic concepts in esoteric philosophy and history lively as well as readable.'


-- Kirkus Review


'Lachman creates a history of ideas that fascinates and excites'


-- New York Journal of Books


'The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination rejoins the parted Red Sea of modern intellect, demonstrating how rationalism and esotericism are not divided forces but necessary complements and parts of a whole in the human wish for understanding. Let's be done, once and for all, with the shallow and misdirected notion that reason and mysticism are at odds. Lachman demonstrates their harmony.'


-- Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life


'I thought this was an excellent book -- scholarly but eminently readable for anyone seeking appreciation of the spiritual.'


-- De Numine, The Journal and Newsletter of the Alister Hardy Trust


'Gary Lachman is one of my favorite authors alive. Scholarly in his approaches to esoteric topics and historical figures, Lachman has blessed us with a deep crop of books... Thankfully, Lachman is here to emphasize the importance and power of the imagination, and the inner and outer worlds of the mind -- 4.5/5 stars'


-- Rusties

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