Besant writings

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Annie Besant (1847-1933) was a prolific writer throughout her life. She wrote books, pamphlets, and articles during her activities with the Freethought Movement, the Fabian Socialists, and the Indian independence movement; and as a lecturer and President (1907-1933) of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India. Over 2500 articles and editorials written for periodicals of the Theosophical Movement are documented in the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals under the name Annie Besant. She also wrote many articles for popular newspapers and magazines, and for Spiritualist journals such as The Occult Review.

Many of her books, pamphlets, and published lectures are listed below alphabetically within categories. For a chronological presentation of all titles, with supplemental information, see Annie Besant Shrine at

Autobiographical books and pamphlets

AB Autobiography.jpg
  • Annie Besant: the Atheist Years. Edited with an introduction by J. Gordon Melton. New York: Garland Pub. Co., 1990. "Reprint of thirteen pamphlets from 1883-1890.”
  • Annie Besant: An Autobiography. London, 1893. Available at
  • Autobiographical Sketches. London, Free Thought Publishing Company, 1885. Available from Hathitrust.
  • My Path to Atheism. 3rd ed. London, Freethought Pub. Co., 1885. Available at Hathitrust.

Early social activism

Book advocating birth control, 1878
  • Essays on Socialism. London: Freethought Pub. Co., 1887. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Influence of Alcohol: a lecture delivered in the Livesy Central Temperance Hall, Scrutton St., London, on Sunday morning, February 7th, 1892. London: 1892. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Law of Population: Its Consequences and Its Bearing Upon Human Conduct and Morals. London: Freethought Pu. Co., 1877. Available at Internet Archive.
  • A Selection of the Social and Political Pamphlets of Annie Besant. With a pref. & bibliographical notes by John Saville. New York, A. M. Kelley, 1970. Searchable at Hathitrust.
  • Is Socialism Sound?: Verbatim Report of a Four Nights' Debate Between Annie Besant and G. W. Foote at the Hall of Science, Old St., London, E.C., on February 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd, 1887. With G. W. Foote. London: Progressive Pub. Co., 1887. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Trades Union Movement. London, Free-thought Pub. Co., 1890. Available at Hathitrust.

India and Indian independence

  • For India's Uplift; a Collection of Speeches and Writings on Indian Questions. Madras, India: G.A. Nateson [1910]. Available at Hathitrust.
  • India and the Empire, a Lecture and Various Papers on Indian Grievances. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1914. Available at Hathitrust.
  • India: a Nation: a Plea for Self-government. With C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar. London: T. C. & E. C. Jack ; [1916]. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Problems of Reconstruction: Lectures delivered at the forty-third Anniversary Meeting of the Theosophical Society at Delhi, December, 1918. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1919.Four lectures: Religious Reconstruction, Social Reconstruction, Political Reconstruction, Educational Reconstruction.
  • Speeches & Writings of Annie Besant. Madras, India: G.A. Natesan & Co., 1921. "A thoroughly revised and enlarged edition of 'For India's uplift'."


Besant's fervent advocation of educational reform led her to publish several pamphlets on the subject; among these were Education as a National Duty (Banaras, 1903), The Education of Indian Girls (Banaras, 1903), Principles of Education (Madras, 1915), Education for the New Era (London, 1919), Theosophical Education Report (Madras, 1917), and the Kamala Lectures: Indian Ideals in Education & Philosophy, Religion and Art (Calcutta, 1925).[1]

In support of the work of the Society for the Promotion of National Education, she produced three volumes of stories for Indian children, compiled from the Hitopadesha, a book of Hindu fables:

  • Value of Friendship
  • Disunion of Friends
  • Sri Rama and Sita Devi

Other publications arising from her educational work include:

  • Education for the New Era. London, 1919. Theosophical Educational Trust (TPH).
  • Education as the Basis of National Life. Adyar, Madras: The Theosophist Office, Delivered at Adyar, in The Theosophical Hall, February 23, 1908. (Second edition).
  • Principles of Education. Adyar, Madras: Society for the Promotion of National Education, 1918. Reprinted by the Theosophical Society in 1932, subtitled "with a scheme applying them to national education in India, dedicated to parents, guardians and teachers".
  • Lectures on Political Science. Adyar, Madras: Society for the Promotion of National Education, 1919.
  • The Story of the Great War, Some Lessons from the Mahābhārata for the Use of Hindū students in the Schools of India. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1919. "From notes of lectures originally delivered at the Central Hindu college, Benares." 2nd edition available at Hathitrust.

See also

Theosophical writings

  • The Ancient Wisdom. 1897. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, 1911 edition is available at Originally serialized in Lucifer.
  • Avatâras: Four Lectures Delivered at the Twenty-fourth Anniversary Meeting of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras, December, 1899. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1900. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Bhagavad-Gita, or, The Lord's Song: with the Text in Devanagari and an English translation. Madras, India: G.A. Natesan, [1922]. 4th edition available at Hathitrust.
  • The Changing World. 1919. The Immediate Future was a shorter version. Reviewed in The Messenger, July 1919, page 63.
  • Daily meditations on the path and its qualifications: from the works of Annie Besant. Compiled by E.G. Cooper. Adyar, Madras, India : Theosophical Pub. House, 1943. Searchable by Hathitrust.
  • Dharma. 3rd edition - Krotona, Calif., 1918. Available at Hathitrust.
  • An Exposition of Theosophy. Boston, Mass., 1893. Reprint from 'The World,' N.Y., February 26, 1893. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Four Great Religions, Four Lectures Delivered on the Twenty-first Anniversary of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras. Benares and London, Theosophical Pub. Society, 1897. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Ideals of Theosophy. Adyar, India: Theosophist Office, 1912. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Immediate Future. A shorter version of The Changing World. 1919.
  • In the Outer Court. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1906. 4th edition available at Hathitrust.
  • An Introduction to Yoga. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1908. Later edition available at Hathitrust.
  • Jainism. Adyar, India: Theosophical Pub. House, 1949, 1997. Reprint of a Convention Lecture delivered in 1901 at Adyar, on the 26th anniversary of the Theosophical Society. Searchable at Hathitrust.
  • Legends and Tales. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1913. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Man and His Bodies. 2nd edition - London Theosophical Publishing Society, 1900. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Mysticism. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1914. Available at Hathitrust.
  • On Moods. London and Benares: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1906. Reprinted from the Theosophical Review, vol. 35, no. 207, November 1904.
  • The Pedigree of Man: Four Lectures Delivered at the Twenty-eighth Anniversary Meetings of the Theosophical Society, at Adyar, December, 1903. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Pilgrimage of the Soul. 1895. Benares: Theosophical Publishing Society; Madras: Theosophist Office, Adyar; London: Theosophical Publishing Society. Pamphlet series; 18.
  • Reincarnation. London, Theosophical Publishing Society, 1910. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Secret of Evolution . Harrogate: Theosophical Publishing Committee, 1904. Reprinted from the Theosophical review.
  • The Seven Principles of Man. London, The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1892. Searchable at Hathitrust and available at Sold over 15,000 copies in early printings. The book was originally serialized in Lucifer, August-December 1891.
  • Study and Practice. London: Issued by the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society, [1919] A lecture delivered by Mrs. Besant at Mortimer Hall, under the auspices of Blavatsky Lodge of the T.S. in England and Wales on October 3rd, 1919.
  • Theosophy and the New Psychology: A Course of Six Lectures. London: Theosophical Pub. Society; New York: John Lane; Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1904. Available at Hathitrust and
  • The Three Paths, and Dharma. London, Theosophical Publishing Society, 1902. 2nd edition available at Hathitrust.
  • Why I Became a Theosophist. New York: "The Path" Office, 1890. Available at Hathitrust.

Translations by Annie Besant

  • Havard, Henry. Dead cities of the Zuyders Zee: a voyage to the picturesque side of Holland. Bently, 1876. Translated from the French by Annie Besant.


  1. [See Annie Besant: The Pearl of the Indian Renaissance] by The Masonic Philosophical Society