• Brief Biographical Information.
Original text developed to this site. Brasília, 2005. Resumed and translated
(with additions) from the Longer Biography of Anna Kingsford,
by Alan Pert (see previous entry in this section).
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
KINGSFORD (16/Sep/1846-22/Feb/1888) was an outstanding figure in many ways.
She wrote books of the greatest insight and value in the field of religious
thought and vegetarianism. She was a woman of exceptional talents in other
fields also: a medical doctor, a campaigner for women’s rights and for
vegetarianism, and an ardent opponent of vivisection. Despite the constant
ill health that plagued her short life, Anna made contributions of the
greatest value for the well being of humans and animals.
was born at Maryland Point, Stratford, Essex, England at 5.00 pm on 16 Sept.
1846. John Bonus her father was a rich City merchant and ship owner of
Italian descent. Anna, as the youngest of twelve children and suffering poor
health, was alone much of the time.
what we now call psychic from a very early age, being aware of phantoms of
the dead, of the physical and spiritual states of the living, and her
foresight of impending deaths was always accurate. She soon learnt to keep
her insights to herself to avoid the inevitable ridicule, and disagreeable
lectures from the family doctor.
orthodox Christianity and materialism had only contempt for the spirit
world, often persecuting people with psychic abilities. Liberating the human
spirit from the deadening clutches of false Christianity and gross
materialism was to become the major goal of Anna’s life.
married with her cousin Algernon Godfrey Kingsford (in 1867), on the
condition that, once married, she would be free to pursue her own interests.
Anna studied her husband’s Anglican faith and also Roman Catholicism. In
1870 she was received into the Roman Catholic Church, being drawn by its
ritual and the mystical aspects. She adopted the Christian names Anna Mary
Magdalen Maria Johanna. However, she was always critical of priestcraft and
the materialism the Church.
up medical studies in order to open up avenues to other subjects, and to aid
her in her fight for the causes she believed in. Women were not allowed to
qualify as doctors in England, but could do some of their study there. Anna
commenced her medical studies in 1873 in England and went to Paris in 1874
for her main studies. She shuttled back and forwards between Paris and
England until she received her M.D. in 1880. In her diary Anna wrote that
she had an overwhelming ambition to change the world and achieve glory, and
that her bodily suffering was Karma for her “sins of the flesh” in former
became intertwined with that of Edward Maitland (27/Oct/1824-2/Oct/1897).
Their collaboration began in February 1874 when Edward visited Anna and her
husband at the vicarage, staying for two weeks. Algernon did not oppose
their close (and platonic) relationship. Considering the course of their
respective lives, it is not difficult to believe that the mysterious hand of
fate brought Anna and Edward together. Had Edward’s wife not died, he would
not have been free to collaborate with Anna, and he might have stayed in
Australia and never have met her.
often in contact with the spirit world during her sleep, and collaborated
with Edward in writing down what they called her “illuminations.” In 1881
she gave a number of lectures based on her illuminations to a select
audience in London. In the following year these lectures were published as
The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ. It is their
major work, and a fourth edition of this book was published in 1909.
essay In Memoriam to the Rev. G.J.R. Ouseley, Samuel Hopgood
Hart wrote about the book The Perfect Way, quoting the Rev. Ouseley:
“We had a
long talk together, but with some difficulty on account of his deafness.
When I told him of my interest in the teaching of The Perfect Way,
he said, in his opinion it was “the brightest and best of all revelations
that had been given to the World”. In a letter to the magazine Light
(1882, p. 475) he described The Perfect Way as “the most
wonderful of all books which have appeared since the Christian era”. But he
despaired of the world ever receiving it, because “the world had always
rejected the Truth; had always crucified Christ and his doctrine, and would
it not do so again?” Of this, however, he was sure; “The Church of the
future would be the Church of The Perfect Way”.
collected together some of Anna’s illuminations and published them as
Clothed in the Sun in 1889. Maitland’s final work was a two volumes
biography of Anna (1896): Anna Kingsford, Her Life, Diary and Work.
Anna Kingsford died at noon on 22 Feb. 1888, ending Maitland’s eighteen
hours vigil at her side. She was buried at Atcham.
WORKS BY ANNA
KINGSFORD (Chronological Order):
Beatrice: a Tale of the Early Christians. London, 1863.
River Reeds. Poems anonymously published, London, 1866.
Rosamunda, the Princess, and Other Tales. James Parker & Co.,
London, 1868, 1875. With 24 illustrations.
Perfect Way in Diet. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London, 1881. 121 pp.
Second edition: 1906. Based on her Medicine graduation thesis.
Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ. In collaboration with Edward
Maitland. Hamilton, Adams & Co., London, 1882. Enlarged and revised Edition:
Field and Tuer, London, 1887. 3rd Edition: 1890. Fifth edition,
with additions, and a Biographical Preface by Samuel Hopgood Hart:
John M. Watkins, London, 1923. 405 pp.
Virgin of the World. A translation of Hermetic manuscripts.
Introductory essays (on Hermeticism) and notes by Anna Kingsford and Edward
Maitland. George Redway, London, 1885. Also in Madras: P. Kailasam Brothers;
Spiritualistic Book Depot, 1885. 154 pp.
Astrology Theologized: the Spiritual Hermeneutics of Astrology and Holy Writ.
Subtitle: “A Treatise upon the Influence of the Stars on Man and on
the Art of Ruling Them by the Law of Grace.” George Redway, London,
1886. 121 pp. Reprinted from the original work by Valentini Weigelius of
1649. Translation and prefatory essay on Hermeticism by Anna Kingsford.
Health, Beauty and the Toilet: Letters to Ladies from a Lady Doctor.
Frederick Warne and Co., London and New York; 1886. 232 pp. 2nd
Edition in the same year.
POSTHUMOUSLY PUBLISHED (Chronological Order):
Dreams and Dream Stories. Edited by Edward Maitland. George Redway,
London, 1888. 281 pp.
Clothed with the Sun: Being the Illuminations of Anna (Bonus) Kingsford.
Edited by Edward Maitland. First edition: John M. Watkins, London,
1889. Second edition: The Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1906. Third Edition:
edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart, 1937. Sun Books (reprint), Santa Fe, 1993.
Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism. (KINGSFORD, Anna and
MAITLAND, Edward.) John M. Watkins, London, 1912. Edited by Samuel Hopgood
Credo of Christendom: and other Addresses and Essays on Esoteric
Christianity. (KINGSFORD, Anna and MAITLAND, Edward.) Edited by
Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1916. 256 pp.
EDWARD MAITLAND (Chronological Order):
The Pilgrim and the Shrine; or, Passages
from the Life and Correspondence of Herbert Ainslie.
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1872. Tinsley Brothers,
London, 1872. 467 pp. 1st Edition, 1869. 3rd
Edition, 1873. [Novel.]
The Higher Law. A Romance.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1872. [Novel.]
& by: An Historical Romance of the Future. Putnam’s Sons, New York,
1873. Richard Bentley and Son, London, 1873. Tinsley Brothers, London, 1876.
Greg Press, Boston, 1977. 460 pp.
Keys of the Creeds. 1875.
England and Islam: or, the Counsel of Caiaphas. Tinsley Brothers,
London, 1876. 636 pp.
Soul and How It Found Me.
Bible’s Own Account of Itself. Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1891. John
M. Watkins, London, 1913.
Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and of the New Gospel of
Interpretation. 1st Edition, 1893. 2nd
Edition, 1894. 3rd Edition, edited by Samuel H. Hart. Ruskin
Press, Birmingham, 1905. 204 pp.
Life of Anna Kingsford: Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work. Two
volumes. George Redway, London, 1896. 3rd Edition, edited by
Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1913. Vol. I, 442 pp.; Vol.
II, 466 pp.