Remarks on Swedenborgian Elements in the Literary Production of Johan Ludvig Runeberg
This article sets out to trace possible influences of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish theosophist and spirit-seer, in the production of the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. We argue that the influence of Swedenborgianism on nineteenth-century culture in Finland was greater than has generally been suggested by literary scholars. The first part of the article provides a historical background of Swedenborgianism in the country. The latter part indicates a larger epistemic and religious accord between Swedenborg and Runeberg, to be accounted for in greater detail in terms of influence. Both authors subscribed to an emblematic worldview within the Classical discourse of nature as a book, ultimately supported by a framework of logocentrism and theism. Runeberg’s discussion of words and things,and his use of the metaphor of light, places him within a mainstream nineteenth-century spirituality, which may be juxtaposed, in addition to general Romantic views, also with Swedenborgian sources.
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