PREORDER: AVAILABLE FROM FEBRUARY 2024
“This is a book about a small house. It is also a book about place, memory and the modes of our thinking.”
Constructed of wood in 1747 and situated at the end of his garden in Stockholm, Swedenborg’s lusthus remains one of the most enigmatic buildings of the eighteenth century. It was in this small house that Swedenborg claimed to have dialogued with spirits from the next world, and it was here that he wrote the majority of his late visionary works.
Edited and gathered by Stephen McNeilly and bringing together commissioned texts by award winning writers Iain Sinclair, Chloe Aridjis, Ken Worpole and Deborah Levy plus artworks and photographs by Bridget Smith, Anonymous Bosch, Daniel Birnbaum, Ben Wickey and Arne Biornstad, this elegant study offers a unique insight into the relationship between place and writing and the connection between the visionary and the everyday.
Includes over 100 colour images, a poster insert plus 3 x photographic fold-out pages.
“To write in a summerhouse is to serenely contemplate one’s own fear of losing the life we have planned and to be humbled by the spider architects spinning the perfect composition of their silken webs in every corner.”
—Deborah Levy, Foreword
PHOTO: DANIEL BIRNBAUM
CHLOE ARIDJIS is the author of three novels, Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du premier roman étranger in France, Asunder, set in London’s National Gallery, and Sea Monsters, awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
ARNE BIORNSTAD (1924-2012) was a writer and museum curator. He published several works on cultural history including Sjutton Skansenhus berättar om Stockholm (1998) and Stockholms korgmakare (1991).
DANIEL BIRNBAUM is a Swedish curator and art critic, and former Director of Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Since 2019, he has been artistic director of Acute Art in London. He was the director of the 2009 Venice Biennale and co-curated Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen at the Serpentine Galleries, London (2016).
ANONYMOUS BOSCH is a photographer, cinematographer and filmmaker. He is known for his work on Sea Fever, By Our Selves, Aisling Sheòrais Mhicdhòmhnaill (George Macdonald’s Dreams) and The Whalebone Box.
DEBORAH LEVY is one of the UK’s greatest contemporary novelists and author of the living autobiographies, Things I Don’t Want to Know, The Cost of Living and Real Estate—for which she was awarded the Prix Femina Etranger in France and the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autographical Prose in the USA.
STEPHEN MCNEILLY is a writer, anthologist, curator and museum director at Swedenborg House, London. He has written widely on Swedenborg and is also the founding editor of the Swedenborg Review, The Swedenborg Archive Series and the Journal of the Swedenborg Society.
IAIN SINCLAIR has lived in and written about London since 1969. A renowned poet, essayist and writer of fiction, his novels include Downriver, for which he won the James Tait Black Prize and the Encore Prize, and Dining on Stones which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize.
BRIDGET SMITH is a London-based artist represented by Frith Street Gallery. She has exhibited her work internationally, featuring in public collections in Austria, Spain, Mexico, the USA and the UK (including the V&A and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art).
BEN WICKEY is an artist, writer, and animator from Cape Ann, Massachusetts. His illustrations can be found in such books as Ki Longfellow’s The Illustrated Vivian Stanshall and Alan Moore and Steve Moore’s The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic.
KEN WORPOLE is a writer and social historian whose distinctive work includes books on architecture, landscape and public policy. A new edition of his pioneering book, Modern Hospice Design: the architecture of palliative and social care, has just been published.
“Swedenborg’s visions were not events imposed upon him by some outside agency. They were the agency that he had always, from the beginning, solicited with his eyes wide open.”—Iain Sinclair
PHOTOS: ANONYMOUS BOSCH