In 1743 Swedenborg underwent a series of visionary experiences. In 1747 he began his Arcana Caelestia (1749- 56) and in 1758 published Heaven and Hell, his most popular work. In this and other books, he outlined his notion of correspondences: that everything in the physical universe corresponds to a spiritual value. Swedenborg’s theory has had great resonance in subsequent years, influencing figures such as William Blake, Honore de Balzac, R. W. Emerson, W. B. Yeats, C. G. Jung and Charles Baudelaire. Swedenborg published his mystical works anonymously whilst continuing to serve as a member of the Swedish House of Nobles. He died in 1772 in London.
In Heaven and Hell, first published in Latin in 1758, Swedenborg gives an explorer’s account of heaven, hell and the world of spirits, and in so doing seeks to show that we enter heaven or hell by our own free will, choosing that which accords with our “ruling love” or affection. Jorge Luis Borges, in the Introduction, writes that Swedenborg’s heaven, above all, is a heaven of love. Each angel works for all others within a principle of use.
Translated from the Latin by K. C. Ryder
Heaven and Hell, Emanuel Swedenborg, The Swedenborg Society, 2010
Hardback, Octavo. New. 613 pp.