Alexander Wilder Blog Emma Hardinge Britten

Recent Historical Research on 19thc Adepts

Whatever happened to the Adepts and Initiates? No new evidence has come to my attention about other characters in The Masters Revealed and its sequel, but these eighteen have been research subjects for various articles and books published over the last three decades, often noted in this blog individually.

Albert L. Rawson has been the subject of biographical articles by John Patrick Deveney and discussed in a book by Susan Nance featured in this blog.  His colorful family life is much better understood due to the proliferation of new genealogical and local history information online.

Max Theon, born Louis M. Bimstein, has been featured in several new and forthcoming books from Israel that shed new light on the Cosmic Philosophy he espoused with his wife Alma Theon. Letters to the Sage provides some new information on Theon as a figure in the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.

Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani and his associates Charles-Ernest Renan and Henri Rochefort were all discussed by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt as meeting with Mme. Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott, and Mohini Chatterji in March 1884 in Paris.  Three recent books by Dominic Green explore this evidence which confirms a relationship I had hypothesized in 1990.

Maria, Duchese de Pomar and Countess of Caithness, was investigated in Art Magic by Marc Demarest in association with Emma Harding Britten’s Chevalier Louis de B— and later in my own introduction to Sarah Stanley Grimke’s Collected Works. Richard Francis Burton is also investigated in the same volume as another prototype for the Chevalier. Burton’s associate in Damascus, Abdelkader, Sufi sheikh from Algeria, is subject of a new biography mentioned in this blog.

Blavatsky’s publisher Mikhail Katkov is prominently featured in Katya Hokanson’s 2022 A Woman’s Empire by a scholar of Russian language and literature. Ranbir Singh, Maharaja of Kashmir, is also illuminated by this book’s discussion of The Durbar in Lahore.

James Martin Peebles is discussed at length in relation to the Bengal Renaissance in my chapter for Imagining the East, as are Mohini Chatterji and Norendro Nath Sen.

A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume are explored in relation to the Mahatma Letters and Richard Hodgson in my foreword and appendix to the reprint of Hurrychund Chintamon’s Commentary on the Text of the Bhagavad-Gita.

But two cases where progress is uncertain are those of “Ooton Liatto” and “Paolos Metamon” whose names cannot be solidly confirmed with historical evidence and may be aliases. “Agardi Metrovitch” likewise cannot be solidly linked with a historical name, but the latest evidence from a Hungarian researcher suggests he was opera singer Giovanni Metrovitch. Forthcoming volumes of letters by Blavatsky and her book The Durbar in Lahore may offer new clues to these and other mysteries.