Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index

Brief Biographical Information. Arnaldo Sisson Filho. 

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). 




ANNA BONUS 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.
            Annie Bonus 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.
            Anna was 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.
            Both 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.
            Anna 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.
            Anna took 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 lives.
            Anna’s life 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.
            Anna was 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.
            In his 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”. 

Maitland 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.

The Perfect Way in Diet. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London, 1881. 121 pp. Second edition: 1906. Based on her Medicine graduation thesis.

The 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.

The 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. 


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. 210 pp.

Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism. (KINGSFORD, Anna and MAITLAND, Edward.) John M. Watkins, London, 1912. Edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart.

The 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. 

WORKS BY 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 & 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.

The Keys of the Creeds. 1875.

England and Islam: or, the Counsel of Caiaphas. Tinsley Brothers, London, 1876. 636 pp.

The Soul and How It Found Me. London, 1877.

The Bible’s Own Account of Itself. Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1891. John M. Watkins, London, 1913.

The 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.

The 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.

Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index