Homero Aridjis to speak at Conference


We are delighted to announce the addition of a fourth speaker to our line-up of keynote addresses. Homero Aridjis, widely regarded as one of Mexico’s greatest living poets and writers, will be giving a talk on the final day of the conference (Friday June 9th). Homero has published over 48 books of poetry and prose that have been translated into some twenty different languages, including Memorias del nuevo mundo, which was awarded the Diana-Novedades Prize for an Outstanding novel in Spanish. Seamus Heaney once remarked that to read Homero’s poetry is “to open a door into light,” and Homero’s work has consistently grappled with how to find hope on a planet increasingly destabilized by the violence of war and environmental degradation.

Along with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, and others, Homero was a founding member of the “Group of 100” in the 1980’s: a pioneering collective of Latin-American artists and writers who came together to advocate for the protection of ecological biodiversity in Central and South America. The Group of 100, under Homero’s leadership as president, was instrumental in protecting critical monarch butterfly habitat and instituting a ban on the killing of endangered sea turtles (just to mention two among many conservation victories instigated by the Group of 100’s efforts). He has been a pioneer and leading public intellectual for Mexican civil society, the President of PEN International, and further served as the Mexican ambassador to the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Currently the honorary president of the Swedenborg Society in London (a distinction once held by Henry James), Homero’s poetry has long explored the poetic and imaginative possibility of angels, causing his work to join a line of Modernist poetics that arcs back to Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, the paintings of Paul Klee, and the intermittent angels present in the contemporaneous work of the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer (who was a close friend of Homero’s). Homero’s Time of Angels was recently translated into English and brought out in the U.S. by City Lights in San Francisco; another important collection in English, An Angel Speaks, was published by Swedenborg Society, and features an essay on Homero’s work and impact by Nobel Prize winner J-M. G. Le Clézio (who famously mentioned Swedenborg in his 2008 Nobel lecture in Stockholm); An Angel Speaks also includes a transcript of a Q&A, held at Swedenborg Hall in London in 2011, in which Homero discusses the inspiration behind his work, his groundbreaking environmental activism, and also his key literary influences. We greatly look forward to continuing the conversation with Homero this June in Bryn Athyn.

Conference Registration Opens


Registration for the “Swedenborg and the Arts” conference is now officially open and running. Please go here to visit our Eventbrite site for more information about the different kinds of registration packages available (including accommodation on campus for three nights, four days, that includes most meals). If you are a participating speaker, panelist, or session chair at the conference, we have already taken care of your conference registration for you.


Conference Participants Finalized

We have been busy over the winter holidays with refining the conference program and preparing for our landmark event in June. It is all coming together very nicely, and we look forward to announcing the final program in the near future, with specific instructions on how to register. There will be an option for accommodation (with partial board) made available to conference attendees (and not just participants) on the campus at Bryn Athyn College. Continue reading “Conference Participants Finalized”

More Speakers Confirmed

Over the summer months we have been quite busy working on planning the June 2017 conference.  In addition to our featured keynote addresses by Wouter Hanegraaff, Linda Dalrymple Henderson, and Massimo Introvigne, we are happy to confirm a further distinguished roster of international scholars who will contribute to the conference. These include talks from Adrienne Baxter Bell (Marymount College), Robert Rix (Aalborg University, Denmark), William Rowlandson  (University of Kent, U.K.), Cordula Grewe (University of Pennsylvania), Anders Hallengren (Stockholm), Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), and Kristen Schaffer (North Carolina State University). Their papers will cover everything from Swedenborg’s place within eighteenth century theories of aesthetics, to considerations of particular individuals such as Jorge Luis Borges, Daniel Burnham, William Blake, and George Inness.  More scholars are being added to our list of participants, and we encourage prospective speakers to submit their paper abstracts in advance of the September 30th deadline.


George Inness_Sunset
George Inness, Moonrise (1887)

Call for Papers


The call-for-papers for the June 2017 conference has been released, and we will now be receiving proposals for presentations next year. The CFP follows below; the above poster can also be downloaded as a PDF here.


This international conference explores the substantial influence on artistic culture and aesthetics made by the scientist, mystic, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). In what will be the first gathering of its kind, we are inviting scholars who work in religious studies, literature and literary theory, art history and visual culture, the history of ideas, and other cognates in the humanities for paper proposals that would situate Swedenborg’s place in the history of the arts, broadly-defined. Continue reading “Call for Papers”

Keynote Speakers Confirmed

We are happy to announce that Wouter Hanegraaff, Linda Dalrymple Henderson, and Massigmo Introvigne will be providing the three keynotes for our upcoming conference in 2017. As leading scholars who have consistently worked at the intersection of esotericism, the arts, and various contexts touching on Swedenborg, we are delighted and grateful to have their respective expertise contribute to “Swedenborg and the Arts.” Titles and details about each of their talks will be forthcoming. Continue reading “Keynote Speakers Confirmed”


We are pleased to announce a major international conference on the Scandinavian scientist, mystic, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) and his substantial impact on the visual, musical, theatrical, and literary arts. Taking place between June 6-9, 2017 on the campus of Bryn Athyn College (Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, USA), the three-and-a-half day conference represents an unprecedented collaboration between academic institutions, research centers, and publishing houses related to the academic study of Swedenborg. The conference will be the first of its kind that is specifically devoted to situating Swedenborg’s place in the history of art, literature, and related disciplines. Continue reading “Announcement”