The Siblys of London: A Family on the Esoteric Fringes of Georgian England - Oxford Studies in Western Esotericism (Hardback)
  • The Siblys of London: A Family on the Esoteric Fringes of Georgian England - Oxford Studies in Western Esotericism (Hardback)
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The Siblys of London: A Family on the Esoteric Fringes of Georgian England - Oxford Studies in Western Esotericism (Hardback)

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£79.00
Hardback 360 Pages / Published: 07/06/2018
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Ebenezer Sibly was a quack doctor, plagiarist, and masonic ritualist in late eighteenth-century London; his brother Manoah was a respectable accountant and a pastor who ministered to his congregation without pay for fifty years. The inventor of Dr. Sibly's Reanimating Solar Tincture, which claimed to restore the newly dead to life, Ebenezer himself died before he turned fifty and stayed that way despite being surrounded by bottles of the stuff. Asked to execute his will, which urged the continued manufacture of Solar Tincture, and left legacies for multiple and concurrent wives as well as an illegitimate son whose name the deceased could not recall, Manoah found his brother's record of financial and moral indiscretions so upsetting that he immediately resigned his executorship. Ebenezer's death brought a premature conclusion to a colorfully chaotic life, lived on the fringes of various interwoven esoteric subcultures. Drawing on such sources as ratebooks and pollbooks, personal letters and published sermons, burial registers and horoscopes, Susan Mitchell Sommers has woven together an engaging microhistory that offers useful revisions to scholarly accounts of Ebenezer and Manoah, while placing the entire Sibly family firmly in the esoteric byways of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Siblys of London provides fascinating insight into the lives of a family who lived just outside our usual historical range of vision.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190687328
Number of pages: 360
Weight: 610 g
Dimensions: 238 x 164 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Sommers shows us that Ebenezer Sibly matters precisely because he is not as commanding or intellectually significant a figure as most of his previous biographers, taking him at his word, have assumed. In her hands, his * Christine Ferguson, Aries Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism *
Susan Sommers has unearthed a fascinating cast of characters, largely unknown. She brilliantly integrates the improbable life of Ebenezer Sibly, shoemaker turned publisher, astrologer, quack, forger, bigamist, Swedenborgian, and freemason. With moderate income he traveled the more exotic byways of Georgian England, a con-man who allows us to experience a lost world, one that Sommers' extraordinary research reveals. * Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA *
In a mesmerising piece of historical detective work, Susan Mitchell Sommers traces the remarkable journeys of three brothers from an artisan family in an esoteric demimonde of lottery fraud, masonic conspiracies, Swedenborgianism, sermon piracy, astrology and quack medicine. A masterpiece of microhistory, The Siblys of London offers a compelling and memorable picture of the colourful esoteric underbelly of late eighteenth-century life. * Andrew Prescott, Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow *
Historians of esoteric religion and the occult are exploring treacherous waters where deceptions and distortions are easily assumed to be true. The strength of Susan Sommers' book is that she is attuned to deceit, shrewd in her perceptions, and tells the truth about these colourful brothers with verve and colour. * Peter Lineham, Professor of History, Massey University *
In this fascinating, deeply researched book, Susan Sommers evokes the mercurial careers of the male and female members of the Sibly family, including astrologers, patent medicine sellers, court reporters, Freemasons and a daring con-man. Tracing their rise from obscurity to national notoriety, Sommers shows how they exploited opportunities created by the upheavals of the period. Her work casts new light on the popular culture of the 18th and 19th centuries. * Professor Paul Monod, author of Solomon's Secret Arts: The Occult in the Age of Enlightenment *

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