EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772), AUGUST STRINDBERG (1849-1912) Страница 4 of 12
intellect, however developed or downright powerful it might be; he perceived knowledge as a given, neither impersonal, nor objective in the abstract sense of the word, but closely connected with the subject who possesses it. Contrary to the belief, dominant in philosophy from Aristotle to Averroes and from St. Thomas Aquinas to Descartes, Swedenborg’s view does not presuppose a severing the ties between knowledge and the knower, between the object and the subject, between the outer world and the inner world. Such a perception provides scope for myth-creation, which has inspired, over the centuries, poetic frescoes or cosmogonic epics by many a poet and prose writer, such as Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), Novalis (1772-1801), Victor Hugo (1802-1885), Gérard de Nerval (1808-1926), Paul Claudel (1868-1955), Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Octavio Paz (1914-1998)… One could add more names to this list, and they would all be the names of authors who have pursued an absolute goal: to transcend the barriers of words in order to break into the space of the universal and the symbolic reflections that mirror it.
Analogy, in contrast to irony, which according to Octavio Paz is the guise it assumes after the modernist transfigurations, does not originate from linear time, i.e. time that runs only one way. Instead, it possesses the characteristics of the cycle, in which the present is an alloy of the past and the future. This is the temporal dimension we associate with myth, whose foundation lies in analogy; analogy is the skeleton and a manifestation of the order of Creation, an open fan of innumerable correspondences (the simile belongs to Octavio Paz). The perception of myth, proposed by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), as a symbolic theatre of the inner and outer battles that man has fought in the course of his evolution, as well as his understanding of myth as a homogeneous story that incorporates a number of analogical situations, thus highlighting constant relationships, i.e. structures – such a view of myth would certainly have appealed to Swedenborg. This attitude would have been shared by Strindberg, whose interest in the mythopoetic, barely studied even today, lies at the core of all his works, and is well documented in many of his letters and essays. This streak is, of course, most prominent in Strindberg’s Occult Diary, whose composition coincides with the writer’s spiritual and religious crisis of the 1890s. According to Harry G. Carlsson, this tendency in Strindberg’s work is particularly notable in The Road to Damascus (1898-1904), which, with its aesthetic and its ideology, is one of the most remarkable and revolutionary plays in the history of the dramatic art. In this play, Carlsson argues, Strindberg resorts to the polyphonic mythical hero, in whose image we identify the author himself in this particular period of his life. The complexity of the image is undoubtedly due to the writer’s preoccupation with the revival of Hermeticism in the mid-1890s, especially in Paris (the development involved a revived interest