Death and After

Death and After

By Besant Annie

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Synopsis

Annie Besant, née Wood (London, 1 October 1847 - Adyar, 20 September 1933), was a British activist, essayist, esotericist, socialist speaker, free thinker and theosophist who participated in union struggles. She was an advocate of women's rights and Irish and Indian self-government. She is known for her numerous esoteric writings. She was born to an Anglo-Irish family, she lost her father at the age of five and was privately educated. She was an avid reader of philosophical texts, readings that developed metaphysical and spiritual questions in her, becoming at the same time aware of the condition in which the working class found themselves. As a young middle-class woman, at first she seemed to have no future other than marriage. In December 1867 she married Anglican pastor Frank Besant, with whom she had two children, but Annie's increasingly anti-religious views led to a legal separation as early as 1873. She began a political career based on libertarianism, feminism, freedom of thought and secularism; she became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society (NSS) and an essayist. She formed a friendship - which resulted in love with atheist activist and propagandist Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were prosecuted for helping to publish a pamphlet on contraception by Charles Knowlton: tried and sentenced to six months in prison for "obscenity", the verdict was however overturned for a formal defect. The scandal made both of them famous and Bradlaugh was elected in 1880 to MP for the Northampton borough. Annie lost custody of the daughter she had obtained after the separation.

Besant Annie