The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 7, 2012

December 6, 1890

The possibility for human change is an ancient question, and recently dealt with by the study of eastern art and ideas. Heinrich Zimmer, (December 6, 1890 to March 20, 1943) a 20th century scholar of Indian culture, exemplified this approach and found much to share intellectually with other scholars such as Carl Jung and Joseph Campell. The books we associate with Zimmer are those edited by Campbell, that is:

Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization,(1946), 
Philosophies of India, (1951) 
The Art of Indian Asia,its Mythology and Transformations. (1955) and 
The King and the Corpse: Tales of the Soul's Conquest of Evil (1948).

It is from Philosophies of India that we take this story, the story of an orphan tiger cub that is raised with goats, and eats grass. This situation comes to the attention of an older tiger who pushes the young tiger to eat meat. When he finally swallows some meat, suddenly savoring the taste of blood,

"A strange glowing strength...went out through his whole organism, and he commenced to feel elated and intoxicated....Finally from his throat there burst the terrifying triumphant roar of a tiger."

After the Nazis removed Zimmer from his post at Heidelburg,(1938)  the scholar got to England and was associated with Oxford; then the US, where he would up at Columbia. It is possible that exile was not transformative for Heinrich Zimmer. He died young, at 53.

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