Spiritualism: A Popular History from 1847
A POPULAR HISTORY FROM 1847
"THE SOUL OF EUROPE," "GOETHE," "THE EVOLUTION OF MIND," ETC.
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN
Books about Spiritualism have been so numerous of late that the reader with little leisure probably finds it more difficult than ever to form an opinion. The only new work that can be of real use is a short and clear historical sketch of the entire movement. Those who make history, the living actors, rarely see its significance. The events of to-day take on swollen and gigantic forms, while the events of yesterday and the day before shrink into almost indistinguishable shapes on the dim horizon. It spoils one's perspective and sense of values. It obscures the real meaning of things. Life is a river rather than a procession. To understand it you must ascend the upper reaches, trace its tributaries, and gaze at the hills and dales which directed the waters into the river-bed. Most useful of all would it be to rise high above the earth and survey the entire course, from the hill-sides on which the first showers fall to the point where the waters merge into the sea.
That is to take an historical view of a human development, and no other view is quite so Instructive. Spiritualism lends itself to this kind of view, as it is little more than seventy years old. One can survey its entire course in a quite modest work without omitting anything that is essential for understanding it. There is, moreover, no such work available; indeed, histories of Spiritualism are curiously rare in the vast literature of the subject. Apart from a few works, such as those of Capron and Mrs. Hardinge, which give an enthusiastic account of the quite early years of the movement, we have in English only the large and learned work of Mr. Podmore, which is rather a store of material than an historical sketch, and a very scanty and almost useless work by Mr. Hill. There is, moreover, no work in a foreign tongue that one might profitably translate for English readers. De Vesme only reaches the threshold of his subject; Lehmann and Kiesewetter are even less helpful than Podmore to the man who wants a bird's-eye view of the development of Spiritualism. That is what I seek to give—a simple evolutionary interpretation of one of the most remarkable movements of modern times.
|The Preparation of the World||9|
|The First Raps||27|
|The Spread of the Movement||47|
|The High-Water Mark||64|
|The Invasion of Europe||98|
|The Movement Established in England||115|
|The Golden Age in England||133|
|The Reaction in England||150|
|A Decade of Depression||170|
|The New Spiritualism||184|
|The Revival of the Older Spiritualism||204|
|The Recent Growth||230|