Madame Blavatsky's Baboon

Madame Blavatsky's Baboon

A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America

Book - 1995
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Baker & Taylor
A history of spiritualism in America discusses the development of Theosophy; the religious beliefs of Madame Blavatsky, Steiner, Krishnamurti, and other gurus; and the evolution of their ideas into the world of New Age thinking.

Book News
Washington traces New Age thinking back to the dawn of the 20th century, when a mysterious renegade Russian aristocrat named Madame Blavatsky appeared in America claiming that man was descended from spirit beings rather than apes, as Darwin claimed. This is an intriguing story of theosophy, the movement she founded, which spawned competing gurus and sects, evolving over the course of the century into the New Age. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Blackwell North Amer
The New Age is not so new. Peter Washington traces it back to ideas that entered our cultural bloodstream just before the dawn of the twentieth century, when a mysterious renegade Russian aristocrat named Madame Blavatsky appeared in America. Darwin was wrong, she claimed. Man was not descended from apes but from spirit beings. As a reminder, she kept a stuffed baboon in her parlor dressed in wing collar, tail-coat, and spectacles, and holding a copy of The Origin of Species in its hand.
Theosophy, the movement Madame Blavatsky founded, spawned competing gurus and sects which in the course of the century evolved into the New Age. Here is the incredible story of Rudolf Steiner and his breakaway anthroposophy, of the tyrannical and mysterious Gurdjieff with his Path, of Ouspensky, the rebel Gurdjieffian, and of Krishnamurti - a future "world leader" spotted river-bathing in India as a boy by the pederast and grand panjandrum of Theosophy, Bishop (self-appointed, of his own church!) C. W. Ledbetter.
These gurus and the alternative religions they founded had a powerful appeal particularly for women, who found in them a role denied them by conventional religions. They also attracted some of the most influential intellects of the age - Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Frank Lloyd Wright, Katherine Mansfield, Aldous Huxley, and Christopher Isherwood - all searching for an alternative to Western materialism and notions of spirituality. Needless to say, these movements also attracted a host of colorful adventurers, uncertified lunatics, wealthy and lonely spinsters, charlatans, and lost souls.

Baker
& Taylor

Provides a history of spiritualism in America and discusses the development of theosophy

Publisher: New York : Schocken Books, 1995
ISBN: 0805241256
Branch Call Number: 299.934 WAS
Characteristics: 470 p

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