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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Blog entries on '18 January 2006'

Wednesday 18 January 2006

Swedenborg's Secret

Swedenborg's Secret is Lars Bergquist's biography - and the first major study - of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) in over 50 years. Who was he? Well, the Swedenborg Society tell us he was a "scientist, philosopher, theologian and visionary. Born in Sweden, he began his career as an engineer and inventor, later becoming interested in anatomy and religion. By the time of his death Swedenborg had gained fame throughout Europe as one of the greatest minds of the eighteenth century."


Reviewing the book in the Independent, Gary Lachman said:


Why then is this Scandinavian Da Vinci not better known? Because in 1744, when Swedenborg was in his mid-fifties, he went through a profound psychological and spiritual crisis, culminating in a visitation by Christ and his own entrée into the spirit world. Swedenborg abandoned his scientific work [amongst other things he had discovered a lunar method of establishing longitude at sea] and for the remaining years of his long life devoted himself to what he considered his destined task: the deciphering of the hidden, "internal" sense of Scripture, the full explication of which would usher in the New Church and Christ's second coming - not a physical return, but the unveiling of the Bible's true message, hitherto obscured by Catholics and Protestants alike.

So, clearly a nutter then! But an interesting one ... and one with local links for me - early radical figures like parliamentary reformer Joseph Brotherton were members of the Swedenborg Church in Salford, just up the road, and strict vegetarians.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 18 January 2006

Bye Loompanics!

Loompanics Unlimited, source of "hard to find, unusual, controversial books", is sadly going under - sale now on! (Via Dana/Maud)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Wednesday 18 January 2006

BBC's RSS info

For those confused by RSS, the BBC's Feed Factory may prove useful.


As I've mentioned before, RSB has a content feed (separate to the blog feed) and I also have a combined blog and content feed. (For more on RSB webfeeds.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Serendipoetry

Augustus

As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
Umbers and gold swollen between the purse-strings,
Getaway cars nose on a hot scent.
Under striped canvas the patrons gather,
Staring at blue, incorrigible seas.
The stubble burns a hole in summer's pocket;
Upon the baked crust of their world, the mice
Scatter their ashes to the harvest moon.

-- Peter Scupham
(Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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