Thursday, April 10, 2014

Madame Blavatsky in Russia

The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin will be hosting a talk by Dr. Marina Potoplyak on “The Mysterious Madame Blavatsky in Russia.”  According to the flyer for the talk: “Variously hailed as one of the greatest philosophers and spiritual leaders, a cunning impostor, a spiritualist with phenomenal psychic powers, and even a Russian spy, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was and still is a highly controversial and fascinating figure. Born in the Russian Empire in 1831, she studied in India and Tibet and traveled extensively around the world, establishing the Theosophical Society and proclaiming to have unveiled the most sacred mysteries of the Universe.”

This talk discusses Madame Blavatsky’s teachings and activities in Russia, including her table-tipping séances and a travelogue “From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan,” which, unlike her other works, was written specifically for her Russian audience.  We will look at a variety of responses to her persona and ideas ranging from Vsevolod Solovyev’s exposé “The Modern Isida” (1892) to Leo Tolstoy’s favorable reception, and her wide-ranging influence on Russian fin-de-siècle culture.

It will be held Wednesday, April 16th, at 12 PM in Burdine Hall, Room 231, as part of the Religion and Spirituality Brown Bag Series.

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