Besant, Annie


Besant, Annie
orig. Annie Wood

born Oct. 1, 1847, London, Eng.
died Sept. 20, 1933, Adyar, Madras

British social reformer.

She was a prominent Fabian socialist in the 1880s before becoming an adherent of theosophy in 1889. She served as international president of the Theosophical Society from 1907 until her death, and her writings are still considered some of the best expositions of theosophical belief. After immigrating to India, she became an Indian independence leader and established the Indian Home Rule League in 1916.

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▪ British social reformer
née Wood
born Oct. 1, 1847, London, Eng.
died Sept. 20, 1933, Adyar, Madras [now in Tamil Nādu, India]

      British social reformer, sometime Fabian socialist, theosophist, and Indian independence leader.

      Besant had been the wife of an Anglican clergyman. They separated in 1873, and Besant became associated for many years with the atheist and social reformer Charles Bradlaugh. She was an early advocate of birth control, and in the late 1880s she became a prominent Fabian socialist under the influence of George Bernard Shaw. Finally, in 1889, she was converted to the doctrines of the Russian-born religious mystic Helena Blavatsky, a cofounder of the Theosophical Society. The teachings of the society emphasized human service, a spiritual evolutionism drawn from both Eastern and Western esoteric philosophy, and the role of suprahuman masters of wisdom. Besant plunged vigorously into theosophical work, lecturing and writing widely. Her numerous books and articles are still considered among the best expositions of theosophical belief. She was international president of the Theosophical Society from 1907 until her death, residing principally at its headquarters in Madras. She was active in educational and humanitarian work in India and became involved in the Indian independence movement, establishing the Indian Home Rule League in 1916. She promoted her protégé, Jiddu Krishnamurti, whom she believed to be a potential world teacher, in the years before his renunciation of formal theosophy in 1929.

Additional Reading
Arthur H. Nethercot, The First Five Lives of Annie Besant (1960), and The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant (1963); Rosemary Dinnage, Annie Besant (1986).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Besant, Annie — (1847–1933)    Educator and Sect Founder.    Besant was born in London, and was educated at the University of London. Her marriage to a clergyman of the Church of England ended in divorce and she moved from Anglicanism to atheism, through… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Besant, Annie — orig. Annie Wood (1 oct. 1847, Londres, Inglaterra–20 sep. 1933, Adyar, Madrás). Reformadora social británica. Fue una importante socialista fabiana en la década de 1880, antes de convertirse en adherente de la teosofía en 1889. Fue presidenta… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BESANT, Annie — (1847 1933)    born of EVANGELICAL parents. She married a pious but dull clergyman whom she eventually divorced. Her religious PILGRIMAGE led from ANGLICANISM to ATHEISM, and from SPIRITUALIST to THEOSOPHIST. In England she was notorious for her… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Besant,Annie Wood — Bes·ant (bĕzʹənt), Annie Wood. 1847 1933. English theosophist, philosopher, and political figure who advocated home rule and educational reforms in India. * * * …   Universalium

  • Annie Besant — en 1897 Naissance 1er octobre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Annie Besant — Besant redirects here. For Walter Besant see Walter Besant. For the coin, see Bezant. Annie Besant Annie Besant in the 1880s Born 1 October 1847(1847 10 01) …   Wikipedia

  • Annie Besant — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Annie Besant Annie Wood Besant en 1897 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Annie Besant — Datei:Annie Besant.jpg Annie Besant Annie Besant im Ornat des 33° des schottischen Freimaurerorden „Le Droit Humain“ . Annie Besant (gebürtig Annie Wood; * 1. Oktober 1847 in Clapham, London; † …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Annie — /an ee/, n. a female given name, form of Ann, Anna, or Anne. * * * (as used in expressions) Besant Annie Annie Wood Leibovitz Annie Oakley Annie Proulx Edna Annie * * * …   Universalium

  • Annie — (as used in expressions) Besant, Annie Annie Wood Leibovitz, Annie Oakley, Annie Proulx, (Edna) Annie …   Enciclopedia Universal


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