The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women's Writing

Living Edition
| Editors: Lesa Scholl (Editor-in-Chief)

Spiritualism and Theosophy

Living reference work entry


Spiritualism and Theosophy were both important popular religious movements in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Spiritualism alone boasted millions of adherents. Both spiritualism and Theosophy had broad cultural appeal since they promised the living that they could communicate with the dead and gain insights about love and life from beyond the vale. Spiritualism branded itself as the first truly modern religious practice as it provided routes for immediate communication with the unseen world. Both spiritualism and Theosophy enjoyed their height of popularity in the late nineteenth century. These groups also attracted many women writers and provided many themes and plots in late nineteenth century popular fiction. From best-selling authors, such as Marie Corelli, to other popular authors, including Florence Marryat, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Cora Linn Daniels, Georgiana Houghton, Catherine Crowe, and Sophia De Morgan.


Starting in the historically pivotal...


Spiritualism Occult Mesmerism Trance Spirit control Apports Séance Medium Manifestation 
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  1. Braude, Ann. 2001. Radical spirits. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada