1 Sally Ledger, Scott McCracken (eds.), Cultural Politics at the "Fin-de-siècle" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 1-10.

2 Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 1780-1950 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963), 165.

3 Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, Silence (London: Virago, 1980), 35. "Re-vision — the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction — it is for women more than a chapter of cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we have been drenched we cannot know ourselves."

4 See John Holloway, The Victorian Sage: Studies in Argument (New York: Macmillan, 1953); and George P. Landow, Elegant Jeremiahs: The Sage from Carlyle to Mailer (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986).

5 Annie Besant, Autobiographical Sketches (London: Freethought Publishing Company, 1885); and Annie Besant, An Autobiography (1893; reprint Adyar: The Theosophical Press, 1939), xiii.

6 Janet Oppenheim, "The Odyssey of Annie Besant", History Today, no 39 (September 1989), 12.

7 Annie Besant, Reincarnation (1892; reprint Adyar: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1963), 66. See also on the subject Leonor Varela, "Annie Besant. Texts and Subjectivities", Diss. Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, New University, Lisbon, 1995, 241.

8 Annie Besant, "The Political Status of Women" (1874), the first formal lecture after joining the National Secular Society. See John Saville (ed.) A Selection of the Social and Political Pamphlets of Annie Besant (New York: Augustus Kelley, 1970), Section II, no 8, 13.

9 John Stuart Mill, "The Subjection of Women" in Alan Ryan (ed.), Mill (1869; reprint New York, London: Norton, 1996), 144-45.

10 Annie Besant, "Marriage, As It Was, As It Is, And As It Should Be: A Plea For Reform" (1878), first serialised in the National Reformer. See John Saville (ed) A Selection of the Social and Political Pamphlets of Annie Besant, op. cit. Section II, no 11.

12 Thas E. Morgan (ed.), Victorian Sages and Cultural Discourse: Renegotiating Gender and Power (New Brunswick, London: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 1-18.

13 The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 in New York by Helena Petrovna Blavasky and Colonel H. S. Olcott, moved to Adyar, Madras, in 1879. Annie Besant became president from 1907 until 1933.

14 Trev Broughton, "Women's Autobiography: The Self at Stake?", Prose Studies, vol. 14, no 2 (1991), 92-93. "The elusive character of women's autobiography can thus be traced to this three-way transposition: gender takes the structure of genre; genre adopts the lineaments of history; and history embodies the condition of gender. Hence in a feminist reading of autobiography gender, genre and history must dance together."

15 Josephine Butler, Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade (London: H. Marshall and Son, 1896), 402.

19 Annie Besant, "The Legalisation of Female Slavery in England" (1876). See John Saville (ed.), A Selection of the Social and Political Pamphlets of Annie Besant, op. cit., Section II, no 9, 4-8. Originally published in the National Reformer, 4 June 1876, this pamphlet was issued in January 1885 as a contribution to the campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Act, which was passed on April 1885.

20 Pat Thane, "Late Victorian Women", in T. R. Gourvish, Alan O'Day (eds.), Later Victorian Britain, 1867-1900 (London: Macmillan, 1988), 186.

21 Annie Besant, "The Law Of Population: Its Consequences, And Its Bearing Upon Human Conduct and Morals" (1877). See John Saville (ed), A Selection of the Social and Political Pamphlets of Annie Besant, op. cit., Section II, no 10. A version of the first edition was published in the National Reformer in 1877 but didn't include details of the contraceptive techniques.

22 The trial, whose proceedings can be consulted in Roger Manwell, The Trial of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh (London: Elek/Pemberton, 1976) was essential in Annie Besant's quest. It is the best-studied moment of her life, though critics' several assertions have not yet been confronted.

23 Hypathia Bradlaugh-Bonner, Charles Bradlaugh: A Record of his Life and Work. With an Account of his Parliamentary Struggle Politics and Teachings by John M. Robertson, M.P., 2 vols. (1894; reprint London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1908).

24 Arthur H. Nethercot. The First Five Lives of Annie Besant (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961), 186.

30 Cf. Walter E. Houghton, "The Critical Spirit and the Will to Believe", The Victorian Frame of Mind, 1830-1870 (New Haven, London, Yale University Press, 1957), 93-109.

31 Theodore Besterman, Mrs Annie Besant. A Modern Prophet, op. cit., 131-133; and Arthur Nethercot, The First Five Lives of Annie Besant, op. cit., 211.

32 By episteme, a concept central to Foucault, we mean the cluster of relations through which discursive practices achieve a form of unity.

33 Raymond Williams, "The Analysis of Culture", The Long Revolution (1961; reprint Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975), 57-88.

Last modified 21 November 2006