Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Contraception and Theosophy

A book review in the New Yorker magazine of April 9, 2012 (pp. 77-80), entitled “The Case against Kids: Is Procreation Immoral?” examines that topic as it has been treated in two recent books on the subject offering opposite views.


Annie Besant

The review begins with a discussion of a little 1832 book by Dr. Charles Knowlton, Fruits of Philosophy: The Private Companion of Young Married People, by a Physician, which discusses several methods of preventing impregnation—all awkward and inefficient.

 


Charles Bradlaugh

The article goes on (p. 78) to report that “in 1877, two prominent British reformers, Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh, decided to reprint ‘Fruits of Philosophy’ to test an obscenity statute. They were duly arrested, and their trial, at London’s Guildhall, became a national sensation.” All of this is well-known to Theosophical historians, but it is noteworthy to see it reported in a popular American magazine.