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To Kingsford the vivisectionist epitomized a modern practitioner of black magic, for she insisted:

An almost exact parallel to the modern vivisector in motive, in method and in character is presented by the portrait this preserved to us of the mediaeval devil-conjurer. In it we recognize the delusion, whose enunciation in medical language is so unhappily familiar to us, that by means of vicarious sacrifices, divinations in living bodies, and rites consisting of torture scientifically inflicted and prolonged, the secrets of life and of power over nature are obtainable. [Life, II, 48]

It is possible Kingsford saw herself as a white magician of sorts pitted against the sorcery of vivisectors.

Anti-vivisection was a political campaign for most of its proponents, but it was a divine crusade for Kingsford. Her refusal to separate spiritual crusade from humanitarian concern resulted in an extremism that would cause conflict with her allies. Although Maitland, her partner and biographer, seemed willing to accept Kingsford's role as an enlightened savior, others certainly saw the problems implicit in conflating religious belief with political goals.

Related Material


Maitland, Edward. Anna Kingsford: Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work. 2 Vols. Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing, 2003.

Last modified 14 August 2007