The breadth of my interests is probably no surprise to anyone reading this blog, so nobody will be surprised that the archive I have accumulated is pretty diverse. But, given the really limited popularity of even the best-known of the figures that have been the special objects of my interest, it’s been a real question whether there was much point in pamphleting a lot of these folks. At the Portland Bookfair, I said a number of times that I would know I was on the right track if someone actually bought a copy of William Henry Channing’s “The Call of the Present,” a fascinating but fairly alien mix of pre-1848 radicalisms. Nobody bit at the bookfair, but the first order placed at the online shop included a copy! I’m sort of committed to republishing quite a bit of that stuff anyway, since it is the immediate context for the first wave of explicit mutualism, but it’s nice to get some encouragement, and so quickly.
I mentioned all of this to Neverfox, who responded: “Swedenborg, eh? Does he show up much in other mutualist (or fellow-traveler) lit?” And the answer to that is, of course, no, not much. But he does show up a number of times in Greene’s work, with the winner for Best Use of Swedenborg in an Unlikely Context almost certainly going to Greene’s An Expository Sketch of a New Theory of the Calculus (Paris, 1859). And then a little research reminds us that there was very little that Swedenborg did not himself write about: the language of the angels, determining latitudes and longitudes, standards for coinage, and weights and measures. . .
Anyway, I’ve been spending much of my time for the last week or so digging back into the files of Liberty. One of my goals is to get as much of the transcription of the archive done as possible. A few volumes have appeared on Google Books, giving me multiple sources for scanning and some usable OCR text. The later volumes were all formatted so that even my somewhat sketchy pdfs are pretty easy to turn into clean text. So maybe half of the archive will go pretty fast, and some of the rest will be like pulling teeth. But it should be worth it. I waded into Volume 4 last week, in search of a Bakunin translation rumored to be serialized there, and found quite a number of things I didn’t expect. You’ll get to see a number of those in the next week or so. For today, the offerings in this Liberty2.0 collection and re-presentation project are Tchernychewski’s Life and Trial, translated by Victor Yarros, and Dyer D. Lum’s Eighteen Christian Centuries. I’ve been reading a lot of Lum for my own research, so I also added a couple of other short pamphlets, Labor’s Atitudes to Non-Unionists and the posthumously published The Basis of Morals. Enjoy!