The creative imagination which makes myths, stories, poems, is a primary function of mankind. Is it a final fact, which cannot be analyzed further? Or can philosophic thought resolve it and integrate it into our comprehension of the contemporary world? Among the numerous autarchic philosophies of contemporary Germany I see none capable of doing so. They are far too occupied with themselves and with the problem of “existence”, and hence have little to give to one who thinks historically. The only one philosopher who attacked the problem was Henri Bergson (1859-1941). In 1907 (L’Évolution créatrice) he had interpreted the cosmic process under the image of an “élan vital”… The fiction-making function (“function fabulatrice”) has become necessary to life. For our study, Bergson’s discovery of the fabulatory function is of basic importance. For thereby the much-debated relations between poetry and religion are for the first time cleared up conceptually and integrated into a comprehensive scientific picture of the universe.
— Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages
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