Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did Swedenborg Have an Influence on Dickens "A Christmas Carol"?

In this week's Bryn Athyn Post (PDF) there's this fun little paragraph.
The Swedenborg Society sent Charles Dickens a review copy of Heaven and Hell in 1841, for which they received from him a letter of thanks which included the phrase “it will not go unread”. Two years after that, A Christmas Carol was published. In this story, Scrooge meets and converses with spirits. His passage in and out of the spirit world is the bulk of the plot, reminiscent of Swedenborg and his mystical experiences.
I looked for other discussion of this in New Church Life to no avail. I did, however, find a short reference to A Christmas Carol in Rev. Walter Orthwein's 2001 article, “The Spiritual Use of Art.”


Coleman Glenn said...

This makes me grin. I think "tenuous" would be too strong a word to describe the connection, but it is fun to speculate. And as long as everyone's aware that we're not actually trying to claim Dickens as a Swedenborgian, I don't think there's any harm in musing about things like this.

Coleman Glenn said...

And lest anyone doubt that Dickens indeed sent such a letter, see page 377 of The Letters of Charles Dickens.