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Christmas Newsletter 2012 

Welcome to the Swedenborg Society's Christmas E-Newsletter. Read on to discover unusual and beautiful gift ideas from the bookshop. These include 'pop introductions' to Swedenborg, such as The Strange One and Heaven, Hell and Other Places. We also recommend limited-edition books by Iain Sinclair, available at a discounted price when bought as a gift set. For the deeper reader, we bring you the recent translation of Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell and the even-more-recent bilingual edition of The Interaction of Soul and Body. We also recommend that you become a member of the Swedenborg Society, to enjoy a further 20% discount on all books in the shop. All books ordered before 21 December should arrive in time for Christmas (UK only) and will be gift-wrapped free of charge.

We hope you enjoy news of our books and events and look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon. On behalf of everyone at the Swedenborg Society, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Nora Foster

Publicist & Assistant Curator, The Swedenborg Society.

Perfect Stocking Fillers

Visual Adventures in Swedenborg


For a lighter approach to Swedenborg, we recommend two visually imaginative introductions. Both the 'graphic novel' format of The Strange One (1982) and the artistic filmic style of Heaven, Hell and Other Places (2012) manage to communicate Swedenborg's life and ideas on a new - and thoroughly entertaining - level.

Originally published in 1982, The Strange One is now out of print and can be considered a modern classic. It represents a graphic novelization of Swedenborg's life in a comic format, distinguished by stunning noir-style visuals, executed in pen and ink.
For only £1.00 a copy, The Strange One is an absolute bargain and the perfect stocking filler. £1.00 only | BUY THIS BOOK.

Heaven, Hell and Other Places is a documentary commissioned by the Swedenborg Society and written and presented by Philip Makatrewicz. We recommend this film as an invaluable introduction to the enigma regarded by Borges as 'the most interesting man in recorded history'. The clarity of the script is complemented by a rich visual language, realized by the film's award-winning directors Cartwright & Jordan. The DVD package also features a stunning booklet, containing essays by Philip Makatrewicz, Stephen McNeilly and Gary Lachman, as well as photographs from filming on location in Stockholm and London. £9.95 only | BUY THIS DVD

Gift Set

Iain Sinclair & Swedenborg 

SEVERAL CLOUDS COLLIDING by Iain Sinclair & Brian Catling &


Iain Sinclair's work is defined by its profound engagement with place. And over the past couple of years, Iain has undertaken what could be called a residency at Swedenborg House, working closely with the building and its archive to create unique works of art and literature.
Blake's London: The Topographic Sublime is the first in the new Swedenborg Archive series and represents a revision of a lecture first given in Swedenborg Hall in 2007. This limited-edition hardback is the perfect introduction to William Blake's singular experience of London, his relation to Swedenborg, and to a visionary tradition of poets from John Clare to Allen Ginsberg. Blake's London has been a bestseller at the London Review Bookshop and elsewhere, and we recommend that you purchase a copy for Christmas - while stocks last! £5.95 only | BUY THIS BOOK.

Several Clouds Colliding represents Sinclair's collaborative effort with the poet and artist  Brian Catling. In a series of commentaries, short texts, diary entries and documentary material and images drawn from the Swedenborg Society Archive, Iain and Brian reconstruct and reflect on the extraordinary events surrounding an exhibition and performance at Swedenborg House in 2010. Several Clouds Colliding is co-published by Book Works and the Swendenborg Archive. Printed in an edition of 1600, hardcover, with foil blocking on front cover and colour images throughout, this would make a beautiful present for the artistically minded. £14.95 only | BUY THIS BOOK.

For the Christmas season, you can buy both Blake's London and Several Clouds Colliding as a gift set for £19.95 only.

For the Swedenborg Reader

Classic Texts: New Translations


For readers of Swedenborg, new and old, we would like to recommend two recent translations of his seminal works. In 2010 we published a new and accessible edition of Swedenborg's classic text, Heaven and Hell. Translated from the Latin by K C Ryder, this landmark edition includes a previously unpublished introduction by Jorge Luis Borges and full critical apparatus. This text has had a major influence on Western culture and is cited as a primary  influence on writers as diverse as Czeslaw Milosz, Ralph Waldo Emerson, D T Suzuki, the Brownings, William Blake, and many others. This edition is an essential read for anyone seeking an accessible but comprehensive introduction to this great writer of Western thought. £15.95 (special offer) | BUY THIS BOOK.

We are also pleased to recommend a beautiful new volume, featuring John Elliott's new translation of
The Interaction of Soul and Body. Mankind has always sought to understand how ideas can be gained by the mind through the body’s experience, and how the soul enters the mind. Written in response to Descartes and Christian Wolff, Swedenborg outlines his own views on this subject and how they differ from the philosophical ideas of his day. This new edition contains both the Latin text and English translation, so could be the perfect present for anyone wishing to brush up on their classics skills! £12.95 | BUY THIS BOOK.

For Literature Lovers

EYES TO SEE OTHERWISE by Homero Aridjis & BETWEEN METHOD AND MADNESS: Essays on Swedenborg & Literature

Many of you may remember Homero Aridjis'
wonderful talk at the Society in May of this year, when he read, accompanied by Ali Smith, from his work. Aridjis spoke sensitively about his reading of Swedenborg, his friendship with Jorge Luis Borges, his environmental activism and his visionary approach to the natural landscape which informs his poetry. A poet on the world stage, Eyes to See Otherwise is Aridjis' first book in bilingual translation (Spanish & English), and is published by Carcanet in Manchester. We highly recommend this rich collection for anyone with a love of poetry and an interest in Swedenborg's ongoing influence on literature. £13.50 (special offer) | BUY THIS BOOK.

Another poet whose work has been profoundly affected by Swedenborg is
WB Yeats (1895-1939). His essay, 'Swedenborg, Mediums and the Desolate Places' is reprinted in full in Between Method and Madness: Essays on Swedenborg and Literature (Swedenborg Society Journal, 2005). It is a mesmerizing re-telling of Swedenborg's spiritual world in the context of the Irish rural landscape and the folk tales of its inhabitants. £7.50 (special offer) | BUY THIS BOOK

For more on Swedenborg's influence on WB Yeats, we can also recommend
Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances by RF Foster (Oxford University Press, 2011). Part of the book, focused on Yeats, Sheridan Le Fanu and the supernatural, was born from a lecture given by Foster in Swedenborg Hall on 1 July 2010. Signed copies are available in the Society bookshop for £14.99 only (special offer) | BUY THIS BOOK

Also recommended:
The Lion's World: A Journey into the Heart of Narnia by Rowan Williams (CPUK, 2012).

Recommended Exhibition

Death: A Self Portrait at the Wellcome Collection

£14.95 only

The Wellcome Collection's winter exhibition showcases some 300 works from Richard Harris' unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex attitudes towards it. The exhibition is spectacularly diverse and thoughtfully curated, featuring art and objects from across Europe, Mexico, Tibet, India and Japan. Rare prints by Rembrant and Goya and Renaissance vanitas paintings are displayed alongside real human remains, war art, contemporary artworks and eighteenth-century anatomical drawings. The exhibition includes rare prints by Albinus (1697-1770) and Wandelaar (1690-1759), whose work was studied by Swedenborg. First edition copies of their monumental atlas on the human body can be found in the Society's library archive.

The Wellcome Collection has also organized a
series of events to accompany the exhibition and encourage debate. The programme includes a film season (featuring The Seventh Seal , 1951) and a screening of short films on the subject of death. View images from the exhibition and further information here.

'Tis the season, apparently, to think about death, because we can recommend another event focused on our demise, this time at Swedenborg Hall! '
Death and Trauma' is the second in a series of events entitled Death and the Contemporary, hosted by Dr Georgina Colby and Anthony Luvera. On 20 December 2012, a panel discussion with four keynote speakers from across the disciplines of literature, the visual arts and philosophy will provide an exciting forum in which to explore issue surrounding death and trauma in contemporary culture. Admission is only £5.00/£3.00 for concessions; audience participation is encouraged, and you'll have the chance browse the Swedenborg Society bookshop throughout the evening!

Please note that this event is not organized by the Swedenborg Society; for more information please visit


Become a Member of the Swedenborg Society

We have many special offers available on books, in celebration of the festive season. However members of the Swedenborg Society receive discounts on books and other benefits, throughout the year.

For only £20 annually (£15 concessions), members can claim a 20% discount on ALL books in the bookshop and priority booking on all events, as well as a paper magazine delivered to their door three times a year. Over recent years, the Society has undergone a transformation in its activities, with the production of landmark new translations; the Swedenborg Archive series; and an ambitious programme of cultural events. We are currently in the process of modernizing the Swedenborg Library, opening up this incredible archive to a worldwide audience. With the help of our members, we hope to continue the energetic work of this historic institution.

Please contact Richard Lines if you have any questions, or visit the website for further information. READ MORE


Upcoming Events

26 January 2013: Swedenborg Birthday Meeting with Anders Hallengren

26 January: Book Launch: Transaction Series 2013

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