Sunday, November 9, 2014
* The website of the International Gothic Association, which unites “teachers, scholars, students, artists, writers and performers from around the world who are interested in any aspect of gothic culture,” looks at Blavatsky in the light of Victorian culture. In ‘“I was sent to prove the phenomena and their reality”: The Gothic Madame,’ Miss Jamie Spears suggests that “If Madame Blavatsky had not lived, Victorian Gothicists would have invented her.”
So, why would the Gothicists of her time have invented her? Blavatsky is, in effect, the perfect storm of societal transgression. Her life represents a catalogue of Victorian social anxieties and fears concerning the conduct of women. Though she never self-defined as one, she exemplifies the New Woman movement in her refusal to surrender her own agency and will to that of men.…It is relatively easy to imagine a character such as hers being dreamt up by an anxious, social-conservative writer at the end of the 19th century: a female immigrant who sought to revolutionise British religious practice was, for many, the stuff of nightmares.
* Under the listing of Blavatsky’s Travels, Google Maps shows the places mentioned in Blavatsky’s Caves and Jungles of Hindustan written in the 1880s, starting in Mumbai (then Bombay) and ending in Allahabad. For most of her life, H.P. Blavatsky supported herself by writing lightly fictionalized accounts of her travels in India for Russian papers.