EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772), AUGUST STRINDBERG (1849-1912) Страница 6 of 12
the accuracy of mathematics (Leibnitz’s characteristica universlis, for instance, represents this idea). Swedenborg’s doctrine was also a stimulus for the abovementioned French writers in their quest for transcendental artistic expression. For some more politically and socially oriented authors (Charles Fourier 1772-1837, Louis de Bonald 1754-1840, Joseph de Maistre 1753-1821) the doctrine provided the basis for different, often diametrically opposed, views on the ideal public order. In fact, each of these writers and thinkers interpreted and applied the doctrine in their own way and contributed to its popularization not only in France but in other parts of Europe as well. We witness the same pattern of publicity in the case of Strindberg, whose specific reception has been well documented.
It is well known that the writer’s worldview draws largely upon Darwin-Spencer’s theories of evolution as well as upon the messages of Georg Brandes (1842-1927) and The Modern Breakthrough movement in Scandinavia. Another notable influence is the aesthetics of naturalism, more specifically the belief of many of its theorists and practitioners that there exists a coincidence between social and biological phenomena. Strindberg’s ideology was also shaped by Nietschean ideas and by his own interests and experiments in the theory and the practice of science, which provided him with a reassuringly neutral attitude and language. As a result of his deep religious and psychological mid-life crisis in the 1890s, similar to the crisis that overcame Swedenborg in the 1740s, Strindberg found himself on the threshold of “the mental gate” to transcendental realities, which crystallized in his dreams and in his hallucinatory visions with an astonishing, often scary, vividness. This “mystical death”, or this “night of fire”, as some refer to the spiritual and creative slump, which is part of the biography of figures such as Dante, St Augustine and Pascal, shapes the contours of a painfully transcendental consciousness and constitutes a transition to a new beginning. It could be viewed as a precarious yet inevitable initiation, from which the two great Swedes emerge resurrected not only in the physical sense of the word; both of them have recorded this transfiguration in their respective diaries – Swedendorg’s Journal of Dreams (1743-1744) and Strindberg’s Occult Diary (1896-1908). The interpretation of these diaries has proved a litmus test of critical perspicacity for a number of historians, theorists of culture, psychologists, and experts in the sphere of religion, mysticism and paranormal phenomena. Strindberg’s Occult Diary represents a chaotic collage of events, confessions, thoughts, experiences, impressions (sometimes fleeting and sometimes profound), newspaper clippings, and dream-like traces of the presence of the invisible powers in our quotidian existence. More often than not, the writer believed that these visions have the value of signs or even of prophetic messages. For him, the book was some kind of “closet” or “dressing room” – avklädningsrum
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