Figure 1. Portrait of Annie Besant.

Carol Hanbery MacKay, “A Spiritual Materialist Turns Material Spiritualist: Annie Besant Rewrites Her Secularist Years, 1889 and 1891”

Examining the published texts of two lectures delivered by Annie Besant, “Why I Became a Theosophist” (4 and 11 August 1889) and “1875 to 1891: Fragment of Autobiography” (30 August 1891), this entry argues that they constitute a little-known bridge between her Secular and Theosophical years. Written during the interim between Besant’s only two full-length self-accountings, Autobiographical Sketches (1885) and An Autobiography (1893), the lectures provide the grounds for discovering her continuity as a spiritual materialist and a material spiritualist, thereby also bringing to the fore her effort to maintain an ongoing dialogue between science and religion.