Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6¼ x 9¼
978-0-8476-9748-9 • Hardback • September 2002 • $131.00 • (£101.00)
978-0-8476-9749-6 • Paperback • September 2002 • $47.00 • (£36.00)
978-0-7425-9900-0 • eBook • September 2002 • $44.50 • (£34.00)
Catherine Tumber is a staff editor for the Boston Phoenix. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Gnosticism and the Erosion of Public Life
Chapter 2 The Moral Revolution of Metaphysics: The Rebirth of Gnosticism in Modern Times; The Public Crisis of Liberal Religion; Women and Fractured Appearances; Gnosticism and the Reform Impulse
Chapter 3 New Thought and the Cosmic Sphere of Women: Emma Curtis Hopkins and Women's Alienation; Ursula Gestefeld, Therapeutic Space, and the Claims of Duty; Lilian Whiting's Muddle of Manners: Taste, Appearances, and the A-Cosmic Self
Chapter 4 The Metaphysics of Nationalism: Abby Morton Diaz, the Emersonian Inheritance, and the Cult of Oneness; Edward Bellamy's Passion for the Nude in Things of Thought; The Theosophical Ensoulment of Nationalism; The Diseased and Discordant Elements of the Body
Chapter 5 Cultural Experimentation in the New Age: Gnostic Syncretism and Its Dearth of Critics; The Syncretic Cultus of Greenacre: A Peaceful Thought Colony
Chapter 6 Everyday Physics: Gnostic Theology and the Bohemian Manners of Mass Culture: The Stilted Esthetics of New Thought; Feminine Bohemianism; From the Higher Self to the Universal I WANT
Chapter 7 Conclusion: The Empowered Self and Gnostic Spiritual Flight
Here is a book that shows, in fresh detail, how what Harold Bloom has called 'the American religion' has been emptying our politics and our private lives of meaning, in favor of tired fantasies of vacuous well-being. Of course this 'new age spirituality' will not prove unique to the United States, but Catherine Tumber helps us see why it is being pioneered here, fungus like, out of our uncontrolled capitalism. Tumber's mentor, Christopher Lasch, would be proud. The rest of us can be warned.
— Donald Meyer, Wesleyan University
In a clear and accessible voice, Tuber credits gnosticism's radical turn away from the world not only with facilitating women's discovery of their higher moral and spiritual selves but also with bequeathing them crucial theological resources that ironically enabled them to transform the very world they were attempting to escape.
— Journal of American History
An important addition to the literature, engaging, and scholarly.
— Utopian Studies
Catherine Tumber's lucidly written and forcefully argued book rescues New Thought from its genteel backwater and places it at the center of a depressing story of a feminist contribution to the decline of public life. In the tradition of Christopher Lasch, historical analysis becomes cultural criticism. This is a provoking book.
— James Turner, University of Notre Dame