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Re: censorship stc.

Aug 15, 1994 09:35 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to Jerry Hejka-Ekins:

> years by the Adyar Society.  Olcott started this by publishing
> his memoirs in ~The Theosophist~ after H.P.B. had died.  Since he
> had complete control over that journal, he could do anything he
> wanted.  But when he sent the series to the Countess Wachmeister
> (she controlled the publishing house), for publication as the
> first volume of ~Old Diary Leaves,~ she refused it, because
> Olcott denigrated H.P.B. in the mss, making a lot of untrue and
> misleading statements about her.  Not to be deterred, Olcott
> published O.D.L. through G.P. Putnam's Sons--an outside
> publisher.  Once Wachmeister was out of the way in 1900, the
> series was finished through T.P.S.  When the entire series (6
> vols.) was to be reprinted through Adyar in the early 70's, Boris
> de Zirkoff's student put together a dossier documenting the
> errors Olcott made concerning H.P.B., and provided them with
> references and quotes from original documents giving the correct
> information.  She did this so that they would be able to add
> editorial annotations to the work correcting mis-information.  In
> other words, she did their homework for them.  She received a
> reply telling her that their was no interest in this material,
> and as we all know, the O.D.L. series was reprinted with no
> annotations.
I wonder how much this was due to reluctance to invest time and
money in the correons rather than desire to suppress.  AnoAnother
question-- how much are the corrections relying on HPB alone in
a he said/she said battle?
>      I suggest that if you really want to test the censorship
> issue, try a subject that Adyar cares about.  Why don't you try
> writing an article questioning Leadbeater's teachings?  Or how
> about a historical article on the political influence of the E.S.
> on the T.S. under Besant and her successors?  Articles being
> critical of H.P.B. is old hat, perfectly acceptable, and has been
> done for years in the name of "freedom of expression."

> PJ> John on the other hand was more positive about
> > content and quality of writing, but judged its flaws
> >irremediable.  (The
> > flaws he objected to were related to a tendency to
> > overinterpret scanty evidence and force things into patterns
> > without sufficient consideration of alternative
> > interpretations.  I took this very seriously and hope to have
> > remedied it in the new books).

>      Of course Algeo's (stated) objection was the same as
> Santucci and myself when we reviewed the book for publication
> through ~Theosophical History~ (though, unlike John, we didn't
> consider the "flaws" to have been "irremediable.") Santucci's
> issue was purely concerned with scholastic standards, and
> otherwise would loved to have published it.  We didn't have a
> censorship issue with your work.  So, that makes I.S.O.T.M.
> problematical as a test of censorship with T.P.H.  However, it is
> interesting that John decided to invoke the scholarship issue as
> a reason for turning down your book, when T.P.H. is normally
> ridiculously loose on that issue.  Doesn't that tell us
> something?

As I said to Lewis, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary
proof." So, sure, I'll be judged by a higher standard-- so much the
better.  TPH would have been held responsable by readers for my
flaws to a higher standard than those of their other books because
of its controversial nature.  Also, and in Sally's defense as well,
the manuscript sent to TPH was a much bigger mess than that seen by
you and Jim, and the one sent to TUP by far the worst, sloppiest
offall.  Their complaints were entirely correct as far as I can
see.  Grace's main pt wasnot to be impatient,as as it would take
years to do the job right.  That too w tely valid.

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