A Modern Priestess of Isis
This book by the Russian novelist Vsevolod Sergeyevich Solovyov (1849-1903), translated and abridged by Walter Leaf (1852-1927) and published in 1895, reflects on the life of Madame Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891), co-founder of the theosophy movement in the United States. Originally published over eight months in literary magazine Russy Vyestnik ('Russian Messenger'), the book considers the controversy that engulfed Blavatsky in her final years over displays of her 'phenomena'. Solovyov was living in Paris in 1884 and researching spiritualist literature when he met Blavatsky (whose work was known in Russia), but he became disillusioned with both her and her movement. Leaf, a classical scholar and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, undertook the translation for the Council of the Society for Psychical Research, which had investigated Blavatsky's work. This account now provides a window on to the life of one of Europe's most controversial nineteenth-century spiritual leaders.
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