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The Emergence of the Fourth DimensionHigher Spatial Thinking in the Fin de Siècle$
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Mark Blacklock

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198755487.001.0001

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The Theosophical Society, Authority, and Mediation

(p.135) 5 Through
The Emergence of the Fourth Dimension

Mark Blacklock

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 considers the development in popular occultism of higher spatial ideas, with an emphasis on the Theosophical Society’s correlation of the fourth dimension with the astral plane. In so doing it describes the theoretical alignment of various speculated supernatural phenomena with higher-dimensioned space and the elaboration of these relationships in overlapping social groupings and a popular but contested body of literature. This chapter stresses a shift in rhetorical emphasis: in these accounts we have moved beyond speculation and into the presentation as empirical of ideas that maintain no basis in the empirical. The popular impact of the appropriation of higher spatial ideas by leading figures in the Theosophical Society and far briefer but no less important engagements on the part of figures whose influence in the period has long been established—Edward Carpenter and W.T. Stead—describes the elaboration and cross-fertilization of these ideas.

Keywords:   Theosophical Society, Edward Carpenter, W.T. Stead, the astral plane, C.W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant

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