By William Rowlandson
Jorge Luis Borges was once profoundly attracted to the ill-defined and shape-shifting traditions of mysticism. although, past experiences of Borges haven't interested in the writer's shut curiosity in mysticism and mystical texts, specially within the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). This booklet examines the connection among Borges' personal recorded mystical reports and his appraisal of Swedenborg and different mystics. It asks the fundamental query of even if Borges was once a mystic via analysing his writings, together with brief tales, essays, poems and interviews, along scholarly writings on mysticism through figures reminiscent of William James. The publication locates Borges in the scholarship of mysticism by means of comparing his many assertions and proposals as to what's or isn't really a mystic and, in so doing, analyses the impression of James and Ralph Waldo Emerson on Borges' examining of Swedenborg and mysticism. the writer argues additional that Swedenborg constitutes a much richer presence in Borges' paintings than scholarship has hitherto stated, and assesses the presence of Swedenborg in Borges' aesthetics, ethics and poetics.
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Extra info for Borges, Swedenborg and Mysticism
What terrain does he traverse with us? Into which dark caverns in Dante’s circles of hells does he lead us?
There is a sense that the numinous is somehow taboo, and consequently is hidden in the ‘shadows of self-censorship, discretion, and whispered enthusiasms’. Borges himself, as I have argued above, maintained a critical distance that displays a tension between intellect and intuition, reason and faith, fact and fiction. The Borges scholarship, with some notable exceptions, has tended likewise and with good reason to follow Borges’ lead, and explore the areas of Borges’ interest – Kabbalah, esotericism, mysticism, Buddhism – with the same necessary critical distance.
However, this wholly overlooked episode, ignored even by the interviewer, is charged with meaningful relationship with the very tension that I have highlighted in Borges. ” I am sorry when I am sick, that I have not some longing that might give me the pleasure of satisfying it; all the rules of physic would hardly be able to divert me from it. I do the same when I am well; I can see very little more to be hoped or wished for. ’Twere pity a man should be so weak and languishing, as not to have even wishing left to him’ (Montaigne 1910: 613).