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The New International Encyclopædia/Besant, Mrs. Annie

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BESANT, bēs′ant, Mrs. Annie (1847—). An English theosophist. She was born in London, October 1, 1847, began life as a devout Ritualist, married the Rev. Frank Besant, 1867, but soon afterwards became an avowed freethinker; was separated from her husband in 1873, and in 1874 joined the National Secular Society. Here she met Charles Bradlaugh, with whom she published a pamphlet, The Fruits of Philosophy (1877), which led to the arrest of the authors for alleged immorality, because they discussed plans for controlling the increase of population. After much litigation, they were acquitted. In 1889 she joined the Theosophical Society, and became an ardent disciple of Madame Blavatsky, and since then has devoted herself to the propaganda of theosophy throughout the world. With Herbert Burrows she compiled a Petit glossaire de termes théosophiques (Paris, 1894). In 1893 she made a lecturing tour in the United States, and published her autobiography under the title, Through Storm to Peace. Her later works include: The Building of Kosmos (1894); The Self and its Sheaths (1895); Four Great Religions (1897); Dharma and the Story of the Great War (1899); Esoteric Christianity: or, the Lesser Mysteries (1902).