welcome

The Swedenborg Society is a publisher, library, events space, museum, bookshop and registered charity. In addition to organizing events, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, performances and film screenings, we also publish a large selection of literature relating to the work of the philosopher, scientist, inventor, astronomer, mathematician, parliamentary figure and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). The Society's Grade II listed premises in Bloomsbury, central London, is also available for private hire. For free updates on our events and publications please join our e-newsletter mailing list

Charity registration number: 209172

Swedenborg and the Body: anatomy, alcohol and the soul

an academic symposium

Bernhard Albinus: Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani

SATURDAY 4 May 2019 | doors open 1.30, close 5.00 | RSVP

The body in the 18th and early 19th centuries was subject to intense debate and study, with scholars and laypeople alike engaging with discourses around Cartesianism, anatomy, temperance and more. Swedenborg and those interested in him were no exception. On Saturday 4 May we will be delighted to welcome three academics to Swedenborg House for a symposium on ‘Swedenborg and the Body’. The theme of the body brings together philosophy, medicine, morality and madness, issues which were prevalent then yet still resonate today. Over the course of the afternoon, Vincent Roy-Di Piazza, Professor David Dunér and Dr John Lidwell-Durnin will speak on topics touching on the role of the body in Swedenborgian thought. Their work will be significant for scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries, those working on the history of medicine and anyone interested in Swedenborg’s life and influence. Attendance is free, and all are welcome. Email avery@swedenborg.org.uk for your ticket. 

‘Demonstretur animae immortalitas’: the evolution of Swedenborg’s theories on soul-body interaction

Vincent Roy-Di Piazza 

Swedenborg’s Lost Dreams: The Mind-Body Problem and the Italian Journey 1738–1739

David Dunér

‘Spirit, Madness, and the Body: Swedenborgianism and the Temperance Movement in Early Nineteenth Century America’

John Lidwell-Durnin

Learn more here.

Discover the Hidden Treasures of Swedenborg House with Artist Sally Kindberg

Saturday 1 June 2019 | 2.00-4.00pm

Drawing workshops for adults and children (aged 6-10)  | Saturday 1 June | 2.00 to 4.00pm | Free refreshments and materials | Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH | FREE  | Children to be accompanied by a parent or carer

Email avery@swedenborg.org.uk to book!

Come and explore the secrets of Swedenborg House! We are delighted after the overwhelming popularity of our previous workshop to announce a fourth drawing workshop by acclaimed artist, author and designer Sally Kindberg. Sally will be leading drawing workshops for adults and children (aged between 6-10) on the many fascinating items on display at Swedenborg House, and on Swedenborg himself. Visitors will be led through a unique exploration of our rare collection of artefacts and treasures, including strange mechanical inventions, powdered wigs, duck feather pens and angels.

Key features:

  • Children will learn comic book skills from Sally Kindberg, one of the UK’s leading comic book authors; 
  • Children will learn to draw with duck quill pens;
  • Children will be encouraged to explore the mysterious museum at Swedenborg House, a Grade II listed eigtheenth-century building in Bloomsbury;
  • Children will receive free refreshments and art materials.

SALLY KINDBERG is the author and illustrator of the popular children’s book series Draw It! and The Comic Strip History of Space, both published by Bloomsbury. Sally’s work has appeared in numerous children’s books, in comic strips for CBBC and in The Guardian. She has also delivered creative workshops at Edinburgh Festival, the Wellcome Collection and in places as diverse as Beijing and the Outer Hebrides. Sally is a City of London guide, the curator and founder of the Museum of Dust and is currently working on a graphic story called Sputnik.

Places are limited so booking is essential. Please email avery@swedenborg.org.uk to book a place!

No specialist skills required. All materials will be provided including duck feather pens and ink, paper, pencils and Sally Kindberg’s unique Swedenborg Leporello.

New book out now

In Celebration of Tomas Tranströmer

featuring contributions from

Homero Aridjis | Kjell Espmark | Ulrika Funered | Monica Lauritzen | David Lister | Robin Robertson | Monica Tranströmer | Tomas Tranströmer | Per Wåstberg

Tomas Tranströmer (1931-2015) was one of Sweden’s most universally respected literary exports, his poetry being translated into over 60 different languages and drawing the admiration of international contemporaries (many of whom would become close friends and translators of his work), such as Czesław Miłosz, Joseph Brodsky and Robert Bly. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature to great acclaim in 2011.

This book celebrates Tranströmer’s life and work, featuring a carefully considered selection of his poetry, in translations by the award-winning Scottish poet Robin Robertson, and an array of revealing and insightful tributes, appreciations and reminiscences from some of Tomas’s closest literary friends and colleagues, including the Swedish writer and literary historian, Kjell Espmark; the journalist and Chair of the Nobel Committee, Per Wåstberg; the literary critic and producer Monica Lauritzen; and the Mexican poet, environmental campaigner and former president of PEN International Homero Aridjis.

Tranströmer’s writing possessed a deceptive simplicity that often saw him considered a ‘poet’s poet’, simultaneously mineral and metaphysical in its concerns, Seamus Heaney described it as permitting us ‘to be happily certain of our own uncertainties’. It was somehow fitting that, in conjunction with the Swedish Embassy, a commemoration of Tomas should take place at Swedenborg House, an event out of which this book was born. That day’s proceedings were closed by Tomas’s widow, Monica, whose warm and moving words also close this volume, and should delight anyone with an interest in Tranströmer’s poetry. 

order your copy here

x10: an ensemble of award-winning poets

Swedenborg Birthday Meeting 2019: poetry readings & book launch

Saturday 26 January 2019 | 2.00 - 8.00 pm | FREE to attend but please RSVP | refreshments served | The Swedenborg Society, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH 

BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE


On the occasion of the Swedenborg Birthday Meeting, Swedenborg House will host a broad range of international poets reading from their work to coincide with the launch of the latest book in the Swedenborg Archive Series, In Celebration of Tomas Tranströmer. The day will feature readings from:

Homero AridjisRuth FainlightSarah HoweHelder MacedoAdam O'RiordanRobin RobertsonDeclan RyanHannah Sullivan, Per Wästberg and Hugo Williams.

Find out more about the poets here.

Also present on the day will be the Swedish Ambassador Torbjörn Sohlström.

Henry Corbin Discussion Group

Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam - Chapter II Comparative Spiritual Hermeneutics

Wednesday 8 May 2019 | 2.00 – 4.00 pm | Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH | FREE | Refreshments served | more dates to be comfirmed...

Discussions will be led by Max Phillips

BOOK HERE

In the current cultural paradigm, which takes for granted the tenets of scientific materialism, the word ‘imaginary’ is often used synonymously with ‘unreal’. However, in most traditional cultures the life of inner experience has been valued as the source of richness and meaning that not only carried importance vis-à-vis the world of matter, but stood in counterbalance to it. Hence, in the Islamic tradition, every phenomenon in the outer-world (Ẓāhir) has its corresponding opposite in the inner world of spirit (bāṭin). The uncovering of these inner worlds (or ‘climates’) is the goal of the spiritual seeker.

The discussions will be based on the publication Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam by the late Islamic scholar and perennial philosopher Henry Corbin. We will continue with the second essay titled 'Comparative Spiritual Hermeneutics', which compares the revelation of the internal sense of the sacred books to two distinct religions, Christianity and Islam.

Arcana Caelestia Reading Group

Thursday 28 March 2019 | 6.00 - 8.00 pm | Gardiner Room, Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH | FREE | Last Thursday of every month

Next Meeting: 31 January 2019

BOOK HERE

Following on from our seminar series staged over the last year on 'Swedenborg, Literature and the Imaginal' (with Dr William Rowlandson) and on 'The Anatomy of Heaven' (with Dr David Lister), we will be holding a monthly reading group centring on Swedenborg's magnum opus Arcana Caelestia.

The Arcana can be seen as a foundation for all of Swedenborg's later visionary works, including Heaven and Hell and Divine Love and Wisdom. It contains Swedenborg's clause-by-clause elucidation of the spiritual meaning in the biblical books of Genesis and Exodus, as well as descriptions of an incredible variety of his own spiritual experiences. It exists in English as a 12-volume set (translated by John Elliott) and is available to order online or at the Swedenborg House Bookshop.

Newcomers welcome. The group are currently reading volume 2.

Book here.

volunteers needed

Would you like to volunteer for the Swedenborg Society? We are currently looking for people who might like to help invigilate our bookshop during weekdays and also help out during our busy events programme. Previous experience is not needed. The Society’s beautiful oak-lined shop is in the middle of Bloomsbury, London. It is close to the British Museum and only five minutes walk from Covent Garden and Leicester Square. If you are interested in volunteering or interning, please do not hesitate to contact us via admin@swedenborg.org.uk or 0207 405 7986.