[BRITTEN, Emma Hardinge]. Art Magic; or, Mundane, Sub-Mundane and Super-Mundane Spiritism. A Treatise in three parts and twenty-three sections: descriptive of art magic, spiritism, the different orders of spirits in the universe known to be related to, or in communication with man; together with directions for invoking, controlling, and discharging spirits, and the uses and abuses, dangers and possibilities of magical art. New York: Published by the Author, 1876.
8vo., green publisher's cloth ruled and decorated in black and gilt to boards and spine; brown endpapers; frontis behind mounted tissue guard; title in black and red with gilt device; pp. [vii], 2-467, [iii]; including an additional three full-page plates and numerous in-text diagrams; some folded corners, the odd nick to page edge; binding a little scuffed and browned, with pushing to head and foot of spine; edges a trifle dust soiled, previous ownership markings in pencil to p. [i], the odd spot to outer edge, prelims, and verso of plates, but otherwise a very good, fresh example of a scarce work; green silk bookmark loosely inserted.
Emma Hardinge Britten (1823-1899), one of the prime movers in the Modern Spiritualist movement, was born in London, and moved to the USA where, along with her husband, she published books and magazines on the subject in Boston and New York. She later joined Madame Blavatsky in founding the Theosophical Society, although the pair later fell out.
Art Magic has been attributed to an unspecified European aristocrat under Britten’s editorship, but is likely wholly written by Britten. Various formal religions and other practices throughout history are explored, aiming to lay groundwork for the future of the spiritualist movement. Like its partner work Ghost Land (also 1876) it has been recognised as significant influences in the development of Theosophy, Spiritualism, and even Science Fiction, making Britten the originator of the idea of astral projection, a founding force of Victorian occultism, and the progenitor of a shift from Western sources of mystic knowledge to Eastern ones.
Operating separately from the theosophical movement, Britten developed principles that still form the basis of Spiritualist movements on both sides of the Atlantic.