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Book Reviews: Biographies and Tributes

Biographies and Tributes


Myers, F.W.H. FRAGMENTS OF PROSE AND POETRY, reviewed by Walter Leaf, Proceedings 19, 1905, pp. 342-5. Fragments collected and edited by the researcher’s wife. book review/psi/biography

Sidgwick, Eleanor M. & Sidgwick, A. HENRY SIDGWICK: A MEMOIR, reviewed by Frank Podmore, Proceedings 19, 1907, pp. 432-50. Excerpts from diaries and letters. Podmore here offers an extensive resume of the career of the Society’s co-founder. book review/psi/biography

Hackett, J.T. MY COMMONPLACE BOOK, Journal 19, 1920, pp. 143-4. Quotations from literature assembled by a friend of Richard Hodgson. book review/psi/biography

Hackett, J.T. MY COMMONPLACE BOOK, Journal 21, 1923, p. 184. New edition. book review/psi

Lodge, Oliver. PAST YEARS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, reviewed by Eleanor Sidgwick, Journal 27, 1931-2, p. 185. Autobiography of a leading figure in the SPR, describing his early life, scientific career and interest in psychical research. book review/psi/biography

Besterman, Theodore. MRS ANNIE BESANT: A MODERN PROPHET, reviewed by H.F. Saltmarsh, Journal 28, 1934, pp. 290-92. Biography of a leading Theosophist. book review/theosophy/biography

Besterman, Theodore. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SIR OLIVER LODGE, Journal 29, 1935, pp. 123-4. Covers more than a thousand books and articles by the physicist and psychical researcher. book review/psi/biography

Sidgwick, Ethel. A MEMOIR, reviewed by Helen Salter, Proceedings 45, 1939, pp. 187-9. Biography by Sidgwick’s niece. book review/psi/biography

MacArthur, J.S. A BELIEVER IN THE FUTURE LIFE: F W H MYERS, 1843-1901, reviewed by Kenneth Richmond, Journal 33, 1943, p. 32. ? lucid biographical sketch of Myers as the young poet who wrote ‘St Paul’, as a founder of the SPR, as the welder of evidence and metaphysics who set up, in Human Personality, at least a provisional landmark of coherent thought in the newly-mapped field of psychical phenomena. book review/psi/biography

Burton, Jean. HEYDAY OF A WIZARD: DANIEL HOME, THE MEDIUM, Journal 34, 1948, pp. 250-2. Biography of the medium. book review/psi/biography

Toksvig, Signe. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, Journal 35, 1949, pp. 108-11. Life of the Swedish seer. book review/psi/biography

Baird, A.T. RICHARD HODGSON: THE STORY OF A PSYCHICAL RESEARCHER AND HIS TIMES, Journal 35, 1950, pp. 311-2. Biography of a leading SPR investigator. book review/psi/biography

Tabori, Paul. THE BIOGRAPHY OF A GHOST-HUNTER, Journal 36, 1951, pp. 401-2. Frank biography of the well-known parapsychologist Harry Price, recently deceased. book review/psi/biography

Drage, Charles. WILLLIAM KING’S PROFESSION, reviewed by E. J. Dingwall, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 426-7. Biography of a successful amateur psychometrist. book review/psi/biography

Anon. ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR: THE HAPPY LIFE OF THE POLITICIAN, PRIME MINISTER, STATESMAN AND PHILOSOPHER, reviewed by W.H. Salter, Journal 42, 1963, pp. 68-71. Biography of the conservative politician A.J. Balfour, president of the Society in 1893. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 148-9. book review/psi/biography

Hankey, Muriel. MCKENZIE, JAMES HEWAT: A PERSONAL MEMOIR, reviewed by Rosalind Heywood, Journal 42, 1964, p. 259. Memoir of the businessman, spiritualist, and founder of the British College of Psychic Science. book review/psi/biography

Smith, Grover (ed.) THE LETTERS OF ALDOUS HUXLEY, reviewed by Renée Haynes, Journal 45, 1970, pp. 302-5. Collection of the novelists’ letters, indicating an early interest in psychical research - he was involved in successful telepathy experiments with Gilbert Murray - and later in life a deep concern with Eastern mysticism. book review/psi/biography

Haynes, Renée. PHILOSOPHER KING: THE HUMANIST POPE BENEDICT XIV, reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 46, 1971, pp. 71-4. Biography of a Pope concerned to evaluate cases of paranormal healing and other ‘miracles’. book review/psi/biography

French, Peter J. JOHN DEE: THE WORLD OF AN ELIZABETHAN MAGUS, reviewed by E. R. Dodds, Journal 46, 1972, pp. 94-5. Study of the Elizabethan astronomer and geographer, with emphasis on his mystical philosophy. book review/psi/biography

Owen, A.R.G. J M CHARCOT, reviewed by E. E. Wookey, Journal 46, 1972, pp. 97-8. Biography of the French neurologist, who mistakenly believes that hypnosis was a manifestation only of hysteria as observed in his Sâlpetrière patients. book review/psi/hypnosis/biography

Olivecrona, Birgit Lange. EN VANSKAP’S HISTORIA, reviewed by Helen Af Enehjelm, Journal 47, 1974, pp. 517-9. Reminiscences of CD Broad, the Cambridge philosopher and writer on psychical research, by a Swedish friend. book review/psi/biography

Jolly, W.P. SIR OLIVER LODGE, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 101-3. Biography of the SPR researcher, in which ‘Lodge’s thought and his experimental work are introduced as aspects of his career and personal development rather than as matters for detailed exploration in their own right’. book review/psi/biography

Turner, Frank Miller. BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION: THE REACTION TO SCIENTIFIC NATURALISM IN LATE VICTORIAN ENGLAND, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 101-3. Brief biographies of six thinkers: Henry Sidgwick, Alfred Russel Wallace, Frederic Myers, G. J. Romanes, Samuel Butler and James Ward, ‘unable to accept the dogmas of conventional Christianity, and.. .on the other hand clearly aware of the shortcomings of the aggressive ‘scientific naturalism’ which Huxley, Tyndall, Spencer and Clifford in their different ways so energetically propounded’. book review/psi/biography

Angoff, Allan. EILEEN GARRETT AND THE WORLD BEYOND THE SENSES, reviewed by Rosalind Heywood, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 108-9. Biography of a medium turned investigator, probing the nature and reality of the communications that appeared to come from departed spirits. book review/psi/biography

Shepherd, E.A. HENRY JAMES AND THE TURN OF THE SCREW, reviewed by Rosalind Heywood, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 182-3. Literary sleuthing, attempting to throw light on the origins of Henry James story. Includes accounts of the novelist’s personal contacts with the founders of the SPR and his brother William James. book review/psi/biography

Krippner, Stanley. SONG OF THE SIREN: A PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL ODYSSEY, reviewed by James F. McHarg, Journal 48, 1976, pp.345-7. The author, known for his role in dream research at the Maimonides Medical Centre, describes his personal researches into the paranormal, that took him on travels to the USSR, Brazil and other countries. book review/psi/biography

Geller, Uri. MY STORY, reviewed by Andrew MacKenzie, Journal 48, 1976, pp. 352-3. The psychic describes his personal paranormal experiences and his activities in propagating his gifts to a wide audience. book review/psi/biography

Moss, Thelma. THE PROBABILITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE: SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES AND EXPLORATIONS IN THE PSYCHIC WORLD, reviewed by Andrew MacKenzie, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 615-7. A medical psychologist describes a variety of parapsychological subjects found on her travels in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. book review/psi/biography

Zorab, George. D D HOME, IL MEDIUM, reviewed by Emilio Servadio, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 542-3. Full biography of the nineteenth-century medium, praised as ‘the most complete contribution published so far about an exceptional character... ‘. book review/psi/biography

Dodds, E.R. MISSING PERSONS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, reviewed by Graham Hough, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 754-5. Memoir by the classical scholar who authored a seminal paper ‘Why I Do Not Believe in Survival’ and subsequently experienced convincing evidence in proxy sittings with the medium Gladys Leonard. book review/psi/survival/biography

Hearnshaw, L.S. CYRIL BURT - PSYCHOLOGIST, reviewed by Anita Gregory, Journal 50, 1979, pp. 249-57. Biography of a polymath who made important contributions to psychical research but was damaged by revelations that he falsified evidence. The reviewer offers her own appraisal. book review/psi/biography

Partini, Anna Maria & Nestler, Vincenzo. CECCO D’ASCOLI UN POETA OCCULTISTA MEDIEVALE, reviewed by P. M. Huby, Journal 50, 1980, pp. 307-8. Account of an Italian astrologer burned at the stake for heresy. The authors describe his work, his connections with Dante, and his teachings, suggesting that he taught psychical practices, including methods of foreseeing the future. book review/psi/biography

Koestler, Arthur. BRICKS TO BABEL, reviewed by Crawford Knox, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 164-5. Account of the novelist’s life and ideas, including views on the nature of reality and the role of psychical research. book review/psi/biography

Koestler, Arthur. KALEIDOSCOPE, reviewed by I. Grattan-Guinness, Journal 51, 1982, pp. 317-8. Subtitled: ‘Essays from Drinkers Of Infinity, and the Heel Of Achilles and later pieces and stories.’ Essays on war reminiscences, creativity, social questions, and psychical research. book review/psi/biography

Tillett, Gregory. THE ELDER BROTHER: A BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES WEBSTER LEADBEATER, reviewed by Jean Barnett, Journal 52, 1983, pp. 82-4. Fair-minded’ biography of a leading Theosophist. book review/theosophy/psi/biography

Jenkins, Elizabeth. THE SHADOW AND THE LIGHT, reviewed by E.J. Dingwall, Journal 52, 1983, pp. 143-7. Biography of the nineteenth century D.D. Home. ‘It is one of the best written and most original of the biographies, since the author not only writes as a believer in the genuine nature of the phenomena occurring with Home, but stresses the importance of dealing with Home as a person rather than simply as a medium and exposes the unworthiness of those who, when he was alive, sought to denigrate both him and his work... ‘. book review/psi/biography

Rao, K. Ramakrishna. J ? RHINE: ON THE FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE, reviewed by J.L. Randall, Journal 52, 1983, pp. 207-9. Conference papers describing Rhine’s personal and family life and evaluating various aspects of his parapsychological work. book review/psi/biography

Rhine, Louisa E. SOMETHING HIDDEN, reviewed by Renée Haynes, Journal 52, 1984, pp. 390-91. Personal memoir of the Duke University psi experimenter by his widow and fellow-researcher. book review/psi/biography

Gregory, Anita. THE STRANGE CASE OF RUDI SCHNEIDER, reviewed by I. Grattan-Guinness, Journal 53, 1985, pp. 192-3. Detailed, illustrated monograph tracing the career of the Austrian medium and the various investigations by Schrenck-Notzing, the Ostys, Harry Price and others. Concludes that allegations of fraud made against him by Price were fabricated by Price himself. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 53, 1986, p. 336; Journal 54, 1987. book review/psi/biography/cheating

Baker, Michael. OUR THREE SELVES: A LIFE OF RADCLYFFE HALL, by Renée Haynes, Journal 53, 1986, pp. 241-3. Chronicles the turbulent and scandalous events surrounding an aristocrat and her female lovers, one of whom was said, following her decease, to communicate through ‘Feda’, forming the basis for papers in the Proceedingsbook review/psi/biography

Blackmore, Susan. THE ADVENTURES OF A PARAPSYCHOLOGIST, reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 54, 1987, pp. 219-21. Lively memoir by the Bristol-based psychologist and parapsychologist, noted for her failure to discover evidence of psi in her own experiments, her contribution to the literature on OBEs, and her pleas for a non-paranormalist approach to parapsychological topics. Beloff welcomes the book, but takes issue with her dismissal of evidence from mediums like Rudi Schneider and the weakness of her metaphysical assumptions. book review/psi/biography

Pilkington, Rosemary, (ed.) MEN AND WOMEN OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, reviewed by D.J. West, Journal 55, 1989, pp. 287-9. Personal reminiscences by veteran parapsycholgists, including Jule Eisenbud, Montague Ullman, Renée Haynes, Hans Bender, Karlis Osis, George Zorab, Bernard Grab, Joseph Rush, Gertrude Schmeidler, and Emilio Servadio. book review/psi/biography

Berger, Arthur S. LIVES AND LETTERS IN AMERICAN PARAPSYCHOLOGY: A BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY, 1850-1987, reviewed by Carlos S. Alvarado, Journal 56, 1989, pp. 53-5. ‘Berger, a lawyer and a psychical researcher, attempts in this book to study the life histories of some prominent American parapsychologists and to provide a handbook of important events in the development of parapsychology in America.’ Includes Hodgson, Hyslop, McDougall, Rhine, Laura A. Dale, etc. book review/psi/biography

Fuller, Jean Overton. BLAVATSKY AND HER TEACHERS: AN INVESTIGATIVE BIOGRAPHY, reviewed by Vernon Harrison, Journal 55, 1989, pp. 368-70. Study of the founder of theosophy, criticised by the reviewer as lacking coherence. book review/theosophy/biography

Jones, Kelvin. CONAN DOYLE AND THE SPIRITS, reviewed by M.H. Coleman, Journal 57, 1991, pp. 370-72. This book offers a useful perspective of how Doyle’s views on psychical matters developed over his lifetime, and how these views influenced his writings. But the author’s lack of familiarity with the field of psychical research in general, and his over-reliance on Doyle’s version of events, renders it unreliable in some areas’. book review/psi/biography

Murphy, Lois Barclay. GARDNER MURPHY, reviewed by Emily W. Cook, Journal 58, 1991, pp. 96-7. Biography by his wife of the respected American psychologist, a keen supporter of psychical research who aimed to ‘integrate, expand and humanize psychology’. book review/psi/biography

Eysenck, Hans. REBEL WITH A CAUSE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HANS EYSENCK, reviewed by W.D. Furneaux, Journal 58, 1991, pp. 98-102. Autobiography of the controversial German-born psychiatrist, who undertook parapsychological experiments and supported the conclusions reached by the French researcher Michel Gauquelin in favour of the genuineness of astrology. book review/psi/biography

Weir, Gerhard. JUNG: A BIOGRAPHY, reviewed by David Fontana, Journal 58, 1992, pp. 386-9. Essay review. Fontana praises ‘the first real attempt to give a full account both of Jung’s professional life and his personal life, and to show how the insights that graced the former grew out of the profound and often difficult experiences which he enountered in the latter...’ including his many enounters with the paranormal. book review/psi/biography

Wolf, Stewart. BRAIN, MIND AND MEDICINE: CHARLES RICHET AND THE ORIGINS OF PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, reviewed by Carlos S. Alvarado, Journal 60, 1995, pp. 272-4. Biography of the French physiologist and Nobel prizewinner, who made a major contribution to psychical research among many other interests and commitments. However this aspect of his work is neglected by the author. book review/psi/biography

Horn, Jason G. MARK TWAIN AND WILLIAM JAMES, reviewed by M.H.Coleman, Journal 62, 1997, p. 281. Twain shared James’s interest in psychical research and drew upon James’s Psychology for material for his own writing. ‘Anyone concerned with the development of psychology around the turn of the century will find this book of interest. bookreview/consciousness/psi/biography

Blackmore, Susan. IN SEARCH OF THE LIGHT: THE ADVENTURES OF A PARAPSYCHOLOGIST, reviewed by Christopher C. French, Journal 61, 1997, pp. 399-400. Lively memoir of a prominent parapsychologist and sceptic, who failed in her own work to discover any evidence of psi. book review/psi/biography

Margolis, Jonathan. URI GELLER: MAGICIAN OR MYSTIC?, reviewed by Tony Utting, Journal 63, 1999, pp. 234-6. Sympathetic biography of the Israeli metal-bender. book review/psi/biography

Cesarani, David. ARTHUR KOESTLER: THE HOMELESS MIND, reviewed by MJ.Ward, Journal 63, 1999, pp. 236-9. Study of the ideas and work of writer who in later life developed a strong interest in parapsychology, with particular emphasis on his Jewishness and controversial behaviour. book review/psi/biography

Beer, John. PROVIDENCE AND LOVE: STUDIES IN WORDSWORTH, CHANNING, MYERS, GEORGE ELIOT, AND RUSKIN, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 65, 2001, pp. 149-51. Describes attitudes to the concept of providence held by well-known nineteenth century figures, and includes a detailed exploration of Frederic Myers’s doomed relationship with Annie Marshall. ‘Beer has given us a work of impartial scholarship which anyone seriously interested in the remarkable group of people who first established our subject, and in their intellectual and cultural milieu, cannot omit to read’. book review/psi/biography