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August 15, 2005



What a marvelous writeup, JL. The Latin quote captures, I think, a tradition that has been increasingly lost, both in academe in general, and among the scholarly community in the humanities. I'll be looking for Klibansky's work.


Thanks. I should note that, while I was familiar with Klibansky's work to some extent (especially Saturn and Melancholy and his essays on medieval Neoplatonism), most of the details, and the Latin quote, were gleaned from the French sources to which I linked.

I think that the Latin may come from Nicholas of Cusa's writings on the Koran - though I don't know for sure. If so, it seems even more distant from where we are. Though the same was probably true when it was first written.

Laurie O'Broin

Thank you so much for writing something about Raymond in English. I am his great-niece and live in England and like you I have had some difficulty in reading the obituries and commentaries I have found. My French is not what it was. I have been printing websites to send to my Grandmother, Sonja (Raymond's sister) as she is not on the internet and I know she like I, is overjoyed to see how far and wide his influence spread within his lifetime.

I have very fond memories of Raymond, he always listened to me as if what I had to say was important (even when I was small 8 year old girl) and he was fascinating to listen to and inspired me in my life throughout my early years with my studies and my love of the world.

He passed away peacefully at home with his wife and I do not believe there is a better way to go than that. If he inspires us all to do more with our lives then I believe he has left a great legacy.

Best wishes

Laurie O'Broin


Hi Laurie,

Thank you so much for writing. I am very sorry for your family's loss. I am happy, though, to hear you have such good memories of him. The kind and caring qualities you describe seem of a piece with the man's public's life, offering those of us who only knew his work the confirmation of what we imagined. And I agree you on his life and the manner of its ending; little could be better. Best wishes,

wendy scott

Raymond Klibansky taught an undergraduate course in political philosophy during my years at McGill University (1949-1953). He was truly an inspiring teacher, interested in what his students had to say (while trying to hide his frustration at the little background most of them brought to his class) . . . I only remember how he encouraged me in my writing of the essays he assigned. He did what a university education is supposed to do: he opened our minds. He visited the National Library of Canada in Ottawa many years later, and was the same alert, interested person I remembered. I do hope that his death will be noticed by more people than it has to date. He was a remarkable man.

Bev C.

Laurie, sorry for your familys loss.
I read a good english obit in the globe and mail.


Its probably going to be a free read only for a few more days before going into the archives.

Im curious if he got into astrological studies as any competent astrologer knows of the connection between Saturn and depression, and at times,...mental illness. Does anyone know if this was touched on in his writings? Being he taught courses in metaphysics..possibly so,

John C.

I am really very happy to see that some people actually care about the passing of a very important and influential thinker. Raymond Klibanski was a beacon of light and hope. I did not know him but some of my professors from mcgil did and had nothing but admiration and respect for him. His love of philosophy, from what they have told me, was only surpassed by his love for humanity.

Bev, Raymond did know quite a bit about the connection between saturn and depression. His book with Saxl and Panofsky, Saturn and Melancholy, is about this connection. They trace it from Aristotle, Greek, Arab and medieval latin humural medicine, astrology and psychology all the way up into the renaissance, with Ficino and Duhrer. It is actually a phenomenal and ground breaking work in the history of ideas.

On that note, if anybody has or knows where to get a copy of that book, in english or in french, I would be very interested.
John C.

Marty Newman

Since finding Couliano's EROS AND MAGIC and then Ficino, I've been unsuccessfully hunting for a copy of SATURN AND MELANCHOLY.
Can anyone out there in cyberspace help me?

Rose Constantine

I have access to a copy of SATURN AND MELANCHOLY in English, because it was translated by my mother Frances Lobb. It's one of her most precious possessions, so she wouldn't part with it, but I'm sure she would be happy to let anyone who is interested read it, if you are visiting London.
Best wishes

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