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William Gilbert and Esoteric RomanticismA Contextual Study and Annotated Edition of 'The Hurricane'$
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Paul Cheshire

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941206

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941206.001.0001

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The Hurricane and Hermetic Geography

The Hurricane and Hermetic Geography

(p.163) Chapter Six The Hurricane and Hermetic Geography
William Gilbert and Esoteric Romanticism

Paul Cheshire

Liverpool University Press

Gilbert’s view of the four continents, Africa, Asia, Europe and America as interactive principles underlying global politics has precedents in the Hermetic/alchemical tradition of the seventeenth century that equated the continents with the four elements fire, earth, water and air. Gilbert also took into account Swedenborg’s association of the continents with the cardinal points of the compass, and Swedenborg’s view of Africa as the hidden location of a true uncontaminated spirituality that was to help bring about the coming millennium. Gilbert’s opening statement that The Hurricane ‘is grounded on, a Theosophical view of the relation between America and Europe’ advances this tradition into the age of revolution: the hurricane’s change of direction eastward represents, for Gilbert, the revolutionary force of America turning back on Europe.

Keywords:   Hermetic geography, Swedenborg, Elements, America

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