Review of Reviews,  3 (1891), 548–58.

Character Sketch: June. Madame Blavatsky

Anon / A P Sinnett


Regular Feature—Editorial, Introduction / Biography

Relevant illustrations:

photo. [5]


Materialism, Dissection, Theosophy, Spiritualism, Psychical Research, Charlatanry, Heterodoxy

People mentioned:

Henry S Olcott

    The introduction eulogises the recently deceased Helena P H Blavatsky as one who 'in the midst of a generation that is materialist and mechanical, which probed everything, and dissected even the human heart with a scalpel, did at least succeed in compelling a race of scientists and economists to realise the existence of the conception that all material things are but a passing illusion, and that the spiritual alone is' (549). Sinnett's account of the life of the founder of the Theosophical Society endeavours to clear her name of the 'injurious accusation' (556) of fraudulence made in Richard Hodgson's 'famous' Report to the Society for Psychical Research in 1885 (550). He complains that although Hodgson was 'fatally [...] hoodwinked by the enemies of the Theosophical movement', and his 'methods of inquiry' were 'narrow-minded and unjust', even at 'the present day [...] people who are out of touch with the deep realities of the Theosophical movement' still consider the devotion shown by many towards Blavatsky as 'an unaccountable manifestation of human credulity' (556). These 'unworthy suspicions' mean that 'the grandest metaphysical and scientific theories which are lurking amongst us at the present day are ignored by conventional orthodoxy because they are for the moment associated with a name defiled by vulgar accusations'. It is to be hoped, nevertheless, that they may yet be treated with the proper respect they deserve by 'a more spiritually minded generation than ours'. (557)

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