Distant Voices

Sketches of a Swedenborgian World View

by John S Haller, Jr

with a Foreword by Devin Zuber

Featuring chapters on Henry James, Sr and Ralph Waldo Emerson; Charles Fourier and Albert Brisbane; Thomas Lake Harris; J J G Wilkinson and James Tyler Kent; Charles Bonney and the World’s Parliament of Religions (1893); Paul Carus and Herman Vetterling; Ralph Waldo Trine; and D T Suzuki.

Format: hardback
Pages: 396
Publisher: The Swedenborg Society
Dimensions: 195 x 235 mm
Language: English
Author: John S Haller, Jr
Foreword: Devin Zuber
Cover artwork: Stephen McNeilly
Place of publication: London, UK
Date of publication: 2017

Distant Voices: Sketches of a Swedenborgian World View
(ISBN: 978-0-85448-202-3)



The legacy of the Enlightenment philosopher, scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is vast, but still underappreciated. Swedenborg’s thought permeated 19th-century literature, art and social reform movements, and his work was a common influence amongst a disparate array of pioneering scholars, theologians and writers who sought to reveal the congruencies between the Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the prevailing Christian ideology of the West. In Distant Voices: Sketches of a Swedenborgian World View, John Haller goes a long way towards redressing the balance, highlighting Swedenborg’s discreet and dignified presence in the lives and works of some dozen charismatic thinkers whose own impact has been significant and far-reaching (even if they themselves have sometimes drifted out of the public consciousness). In a series of well-crafted chapters and a retrospective, Haller takes us from the mid-19th-century worlds of Henry James, Sr, R W Emerson and Charles Fourier through to the 1960s era of counterculture that D T Suzuki helped shape and saw out his life in. Each chapter can be read as a self-contained essay; together they form a group of biographical and critical appraisals (and reappraisals) in which the subjects are linked together by their use of Swedenborg, their interest in Oriental beliefs and their desire for the betterment of society.

Dr John S Haller, Jr, emeritus professor of history and medical humanities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has written on subjects ranging from the history of race and sexuality to medicine, pharmacy and spirituality. His most recent books include The History of American Homeopathy: From Rational Medicine to Holistic Health Care (2009); Swedenborg, Mesmer, and the Mind-Body Complex: The Roots of Complementary Medicine (2010); The History of New Thought: From Mind Cure to Positive Thinking and the Prosperity Gospel (2012); and Shadow Medicine: The Placebo in Conventional and Unconventional Medicines (2014). He is former editor of Caduceus: A Humanities Journal for Medicine and the Health Sciences and, until his retirement at the end of 2008, served for eighteen years as vice-president for academic affairs for the Southern Illinois University system.