The Secret Life of Genius
How 24 Great Men and Women Were Touched by Spiritual Worlds
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A look at the metaphysical experiences that shaped the lives and work of 24 great men and women from the Renaissance to modern times
• Chronicles the changing relationship with God, nature, and spirituality from the 16th century to the 20th century
• Includes encounters with the paranormal of Ben Johnson, Isaac Newton, Mary Shelley, Leo Tolstoy, Doris Lessing, and Winston Churchill
What role did the esoteric thought of Swedenborg play in the creative output of Honoré de Balzac? Did a supernatural encounter prompt Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to focus her work on the theme of immortality? Building on his earlier research on communications with the spirit world that Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables, experienced while in exile on the isle of Jersey, John Chambers now looks at the role occult knowledge and supernatural experiences played in the lives of 24 geniuses. His investigation spans the life and work of William Blake, Helena Blavatsky, and W. B. Yeats, whose esoteric interests are well known, as well as those little suspected of such encounters with worlds beyond ours, including Doris Lessing, Leo Tolstoy, Norman Mailer, Yukio Mishima, and Winston Churchill.
Chambers presents more than a collection of anecdotes and newly revealed secrets. His research provides insightful historical context of the decisive turning point that took place with the collapse of Prague, the occult capital of Europe, in 1620, which resulted in the victory of Cartesian reality and Newton’s scientific paradigm over the esoteric traditions that flourished until that time. The magical and occult world shown in the lives of these 24 great men and women offers us a glimpse of what could still be ours--a world that though it is now overshadowed by modern scientific and technological principles is yet still visible on the horizon through the visions and paranormal experiences of these geniuses.
- Inner Traditions/Bear & Company, June 2009
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