Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Theosophy in Constance:The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde

Moyle, Franny. Constance:The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde. New York: Pegasus Books, 2012. © 2011.

They found themselves seated next to the exotic Russian émigré Madame Blavatsky and her disciple Annie Besant. . . . Smoking . . . heavily . . . she held court talking about the position of women in Russia. . . . Blavatsky had acquired huge fame at the time as one of the founders of the Theosophical Society. This society, which was created in New York in the mid-1870s . . . had become a phenomenon across the Western world” (p. 165).

The Theosophical Society represented an intellectual response to spiritualism. It sought to provide credibility to spiritualism by grounding it in a system of belief. At the very core of Theosophy was the concept that the material world cannot be separated from its spiritual counterpart . . . based on the idea of a constant flow and relationship between the material and spiritual dimensions” (p. 166).

Constance, growing disenchanted with the conventional church, explored Theosophy . . . as a genuine alternative to conventional religious practice” (p. 174).