The Dream of an Absolute Language: Emanuel Swedenborg and French Literary Culture
Taking as its point of departure the two poems, "Correspondances" by Baudelaire and "Les correspondances" by Alphonse-Louis Constant, The Dream of an Absolute Language: Emanuel Swedenborg and French Literary Culture traces the reception and popularization of several key Swedenborgian doctrines in late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French literature and popular culture, notably the doctrine of correspondences. Contrary to what Michel Foucault argued in his early Les mots et les choses, in nineteenth-century France, the word "correspondences" does not denote a break with "representation," at least as it was used by nineteenth-century French writers: rather it is intimately bound up with the taxonomic structures of natural history--and also with the desire to understand the social world in terms of an ordered and controllable totality. Because it crops up in texts we now classify as canonical and also those outside the canon, and because it is so clearly related to notions of literary structure and effect, the word "correspondences" and its transformations in late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France offers a vantage point for discerning how artists and writers defined their work both within and against a context of cultures defined as elite, "popular," and even ideological.
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aesthetic allegory appears argues avait Balzac Baudelaire Baudelaire's bien borgianism c'est century chapter comedie humaine concept consciousness Constant/Levi contemporary context Descartes Dieu divine doctrine of correspondences Dogme et rituel dreams Edgar Poe eighteenth eighteenth-century Eliphas Levi Emanuel Swedenborg emphasizes esoteric esotericism esprit essay etre etudes evoke fait France freemasonry French Heaven and Hell homme human importance individual intellectual interpretation of Swedenborgianism Jesper Swedberg Jonsson journal kind language of nature Le cousin Pons Leibniz literary livre Louis Lambert magic meme merism Mesmeric Revelation Mesmerism monde mystical mystique narrative narrator nineteenth nineteenth-century notion novel occult origins parallels Paris passage Pernety philosophical poem poet political popular culture published qu'il references to Swedenborg religious represent representation rituals role scientific Seraphita social society spiritual structures suggests Sweden Swedenborg's doctrine Swedenborgian doctrines Swedenborgianism Swedish texts theory of language tion tout tradition universal language visionary visions word writers
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