Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky: Insights into the Life of a Modern Sphinx


World traveler and student of religions, Blavatsky was among the first to bring Eastern wisdom to the West. Her writings excited such luminaries as W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Gustav Mahler. Here are first-handed accounts of her colorful life by family, friends, and enemies.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Hardcover (1ST QUEST)
$26.08 price
(Save 9%)$28.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (16) from $3.20   
  • New (7) from $11.01   
  • Used (9) from $3.20   
Sending request ...


World traveler and student of religions, Blavatsky was among the first to bring Eastern wisdom to the West. Her writings excited such luminaries as W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Gustav Mahler. Here are first-handed accounts of her colorful life by family, friends, and enemies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Originally self-published as The Occult World of Madame Blavatsky (LJ 2/1/92), this updated version may reach a wider audience. Caldwell has gathered these reminiscences by her relatives, acquaintances, friends, enemies, and co-workers, giving readers a look at Helena Blavatsky's life (1831-91), along with a glimpse into her enigmatic personality. Some New Age devotees may recognize Blavatsky as the 19th-century Russian who traveled the world and was attracted to the unexplored mysteries in cosmic and human nature. As a prolific writer in her own right, these searches are well-documented, but here the reader has the chance to get to know her life and influences better. The story of her life is easy to follow, with the variety of memories well blended. But the language reads like that of an earlier time, and this less-than-contemporary style may discourage some readers. Large libraries carrying an extensive New Age collection, or those offering many titles on alternative spirituality, might consider adding this book. Leroy Hommerding, Fort Meyers Beach P.L. Dist., FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
In The Esoteric World Of Madame Blavatsky: Insights Into The Life Of A Modern Sphinx, Daniel Caldwell has collected a of biographical information on one of the most influential metaphysical thinkers and writers of her day. Arranged in chronological order, we are treated to Madame Blavatsky's travels beginning in Russia and spanning the entire world including her years in New York, and sojourns to London, Bombay, Allahabad, Sri Lanka, Lahore, Adyar, France, Germany, and Italy. A "must" for students of Madame Blavatsky's writings and metaphysics, Caldwell's informative text is wonderfully enhanced with a number of illustrations and photographs.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835607940
  • Publisher: Theosophical Publishing House
  • Publication date: 2/25/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST QUEST
  • Pages: 451
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.45 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Preface ix
Chapter 1 Russia, 1831-1849 1
Chapter 2 Travels around the World and Home to Russia, 1849-1865 13
Chapter 3 More World Travels, 1865-1873 29
Chapter 4 New York and Chittenden, 1873-April 1875 39
Chapter 5 New York and Ithaca: Writing Isis Unveiled, August-October 1875 57
Chapter 6 The Founding of the Theosophical Society and the Writing of Isis Unveiled, September 1875-September 1877 69
Chapter 7 Marvels in the Lamasery and Departure from New York, 1877-December 1878 89
Chapter 8 London, Bombay, and Allahabad, 1879 111
Chapter 9 Sri Lanka and Bombay, 1880 129
Chapter 10 Simla, 1880 145
Chapter 11 Bombay and the Vega Phenomenon, 1881-1882 167
Chapter 12 India: Reactions of Belief and Skepticism, 1882 185
Chapter 13 Adyar and Ootacamund, 1882-1883 205
Chapter 14 Lahore and Adyar, 1883-1884 225
Chapter 15 France and England, 1884 243
Chapter 16 Germany and Return to India, 1884-1885 263
Chapter 17 From India to Italy and Germany, 1885-1886 289
Chapter 18 Belgium and England: Writing The Secret Doctrine, 1886-1887 307
Chapter 19 Lansdowne Road, London, 1887-1888 327
Chapter 20 London: The Esoteric School and Life with HPB, 1888 345
Chapter 21 London: A Time of Fulfillment, 1888-1889 363
Chapter 22 Avenue Road, St. John's Wood: Conclusion, 1890-1891 383
Biographical Sketches 403
Suggested Readings 419
References 425
Index 435
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2000

    The Story of Mme. Blavatsky's Life in the Words of Her Contemporaries

    Here for the first time is the story of H. P. Blavatsky's life in the words of her contemporaries. Although not a biography per se, this collection tells the story of Madame Blavatsky's eventful life with a special look at the 'Esoteric World' in which she lived. These reminiscences by her relatives, acquaintances, friends, co-workers, and enemies allow the reader to enter into the historical milieu of HPB's time and give a vivid portrayal of Madame Blavatsky's personality. The narratives are arranged in chronological order and include (1) striking word portraits of HPB; (2) reminiscences giving insight into HPB's enigmatic character; (3) incidents that are sometimes humorous and witty; (4) accounts of psychic phenomena performed by Madame Blavatsky; and (5) descriptions of encounters with HPB's Masters. These personal reminiscences by more than sixty of Madame Blavatsky's contemporaries give a vivid portrayal of one of the most extraordinary and controversial figures of modern times. Illustrated with more than forty photographs.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)