American Feminism and the Birth of New Age Spirituality: Searching for the Higher Self, 1875-1915

Front Cover
Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 203 pages
1 Review
Contrary to popular thought, New Age spirituality did not suddenly appear in American life in the 1970s and '80s. In American Feminism and the Birth of New Age Spirituality, Catherine Tumber demonstrates that the New Age movement first flourished more than a century ago during the Gilded Age under the mantle of 'New Thought.' Based largely on research in popular journals, self-help manuals, newspaper accounts, and archival collections, American Feminism and the Birth of New Age Spirituality explores the contours of the New Thought movement. Through the lives of well-known figures such as Mary Baker Eddy, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Edward Bellamy as well as through more obscure, but more representative 'New Thoughters' such as Abby Morton Diaz, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Ursula Gestefeld, Lilian Whiting, Sarah Farmer, and Elizabeth Towne, Tumber examines the historical conditions that gave rise to New Thought. She pays close attention to the ways in which feminism became grafted, with varying degrees of success, to emergent forms of liberal culture in the late nineteenth century progressive politics, the Social Gospel, humanist psychotherapy, bohemian subculture, and mass market journalism. American Feminism and the Birth of New Age Spirituality questions the value of the new age movement then and now to the pursuit of women's rights and democratic renewal."
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Moral Revolution of Metaphysics
19
New Thought and the Cosmic Sphere of Women
43
The Metaphysics of Nationalism
69
Cultural Experimentation in the New Age
109
Everyday Psychics Gnostic Theology and the Bohemian Manners of Mass Culture
139
The Empowered Self and Gnostic Spiritual Flight
169
Bibliography
177
Index
191
About the Author
203
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page vii - In this respect the public realm, as the common world, 'gathers us together and yet prevents our falling over each other, so to speak.
Page 14 - Metaphysical Healing," or other forms of spiritual philosophy, who are so numerous among us to-day. The ideas here are healthyminded and optimistic; and it is quite obvious that a wave of religious activity, analogous in some respects to the spread of early Christianity, Buddhism, and Mohammedanism, is passing over our American world.
Page 16 - Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966). On pollution beliefs in New Guinea, see Shirley Lindenbaum, "A Wife is the Hand of Man," in Man and Woman in the New Guinea Highlands, ed.
Page vii - What makes mass society so difficult to bear is not the number of people involved, or at least not primarily, but the fact that the world between them has lost its power to gather them together, to relate and to separate them. The weirdness of this situation resembles a spiritualistic seance where a number of people gathered around a table might suddenly, through some magic trick, see the table vanish from their midst, so that two persons sitting opposite each other were no longer separated but also...

About the author (2002)

Catherine Tumber is a staff editor for the Boston Phoenix. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester.

Bibliographic information