Victoria’s Madmen: Revolution and Alienation by Clive Bloom (auth.)

By Clive Bloom (auth.)

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Unlike science, spiritualistic knowledge aimed to provide a particular form of ontology based on the conjunction of personality and death. In this model of evolution, death is demoted to a peculiarly minor stage of life. Theosophy’s immense success at the end of the nineteenth century was due in part to its own logic which was at once apparently laudable and reasonable as well as inherently revolutionary in its democratic and pluralistic vision of one human family. It stood for the formation of a universal human brotherhood without distinction in terms of race, 48 C.

Does the body die, and the brain – the I, the ego – still live on? God only knows ... The agony of the thought. 28 Victoria’s Madmen Here was a description of inexplicable terror belonging to a series of ‘networks of anxiety’ as they have been termed by historian Ben Wilson. Anxiety explains these marginal later Victorian and Edwardian peculiarities of feeling. These networks were also ways of coping with dread and ways of mobilising half-realised and half-expressed desires. Each one of these rebellions, however peculiar they first appeared to the general public, was to become a cultural, political or spiritual force in the future.

One of the guests] had hold of his hand at the time, and … others felt his feet – they were lifted a foot from the floor. He palpitated from head to foot apparently with the contending emotions of joy and fear which choked his utterance. Again and again he was taken from the floor, and the third time he was carried to the lofty ceiling of the apartment. Daniel Dunglas Home, born in Scotland to a clairvoyant mother, but now domiciled in the United States, was the most famous psychic of his day.

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