Enchanted Modernities is an International Network funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Through a series of events, exhibitions and concerts, the Network is exploring the relationship between Theosophy and the arts c. 1875-1960. Bringing together scholars who are experts on the visual arts, music, sound and literature from all over the world, the Network’s events will explore what the visual, material and performing arts can tell us about the relationships between Theosophy, modernity and mysticism c. 1875-1960. The research carried out by the Network’s partners will examine where and how artists, writers and performers came into contact with Theosophy and other mystical practices, and how Theosophical ideas, especially those of key figures in the Society in this period, such as Helena Blavatsky and Annie Besant, were given material, visual and audible form and shape.
Founded in 1875 in New York, the Theosophical Society quickly went global, attracting a cosmopolitan community of adherents worldwide. Often treated as a footnote in modern cultural history, there has been very little research about why this esoteric organisation was so popular with artists, musicians and writers in this period and, furthermore, what impact it had on their artistic endeavours. The purpose of this international and interdisciplinary network is to bring together scholars working on the interconnections between mysticism and modernism across the arts.
Find out more about the partners, our programme of events and how to keep up-to-date with the project by visiting www.york.ac.uk/history-of-art/enchanted-modernities.