Mystic Journalism? Florence Farr’s contribution to The Occult Review and The New Age (1907 - 1909)
After a brief experience as a theatre critic, in 1907 Florence Farr began to contribute to The New Age, a socialist and feminist weekly paper. She may have been recommended to the editor Alfred Orage by her friend George Bernard Shaw and she proved to be quite a popular writer if letters to the editor are anything to go by. In The New Age, Florence Farr wrote about social issues such as the suffrage or prostitution, but also drew portraits of female characters in Ibsen’s plays.
The following year, Florence Farr signed seven articles that were published in the periodical The Occult Review. The themes on which Farr wrote in this series were some that were thoroughly studied either within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or the Theosophical Society. Indeed Florence Farr had been a member of the Golden Dawn from 1890 to 1902 and after her resignation she had turned to theosophy. These subjects thus constitute a testimony to Farr’s interests.
As a Socialist and a feminist but also as a mystic and occultist, Florence Farr had a unique way of sharing her views. The choice of periodicals she worked for shows that she considered herself as a journalist. My central aim is to determine what definition of her journalism can be given through Florence Farr’s contribution to The Occult Review and The New Age. I would like to argue in this paper that the main characteristic of Farr’s journalism was that it was always interwoven with mysticism, but to what extent, and to what purpose?
Pauline Soum-Paris is a postgraduate student at the University of Liverpool, where she studies Archives and Records Management. Prior to this, she completed a MA in Anglophone Studies at Paris Sorbonne Université. The dissertation for this MA, which was completed in June 2016, was entitled “Florence Farr’s contribution to the Victorian Occult Revival (1890 - 1912)”. It aimed at exploring all of Farr’s contributions: rituals, plays, publications and articles.