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Heaven's Bride: The Unprintable Life of…
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Heaven's Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American…

by Leigh Eric Schmidt

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The history of Ida C. Craddock clearly demonstrates how deeply any idea that sex can be sacred threatens conventional Christianity. Her insistence on publishing information not just on the physical facts of marital relationships, but also her theories on the spiritual dimension of the sex act brought down the wrath of Anthony Comstock, self appointed guardian of American purity. Her history would probably have been entirely different if she could have found admittance to the university and obtained the academic credentials to compete in the marketplace of ideas. Even later crusaders against sexual censorship tended to dismiss her as a crank, at least partly because she wrote of her spiritual marriage with a deceased suitor. This book is an important resource for any student of sexology, marriage reform, anti-censorship movements, civil liberties and alternative spirituality in the US.
  ritaer | Jun 30, 2012 |
I greatly enjoyed this account of the 19th century crank who battled Anthony Comstock's suppression of free speech. I enjoyed this account of her pioneering attempt to bring a positive spin to and accurate information about human sexuality. A lot of good information about other 19th century volumes that discussed the sexual symbolism in Christianity and other religions. I appreciated the connection between Craddock's heavenly spouse and the legend of the Watchers in Genesis 6 (although Schmidt waits to late in his book to discuss this connection). I am glad that Schmidt debunks the attempt by Theodore Schroeder to turn Craddock into a "Religio-Sexual Maniac". ( )
  Darrol | Dec 26, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465002986, Hardcover)

The nineteenth-century eccentric Ida C. Craddock was by turns a secular freethinker, a religious visionary, a civil-liberties advocate, and a resolute defender of belly-dancing. Arrested and tried repeatedly on obscenity charges, she was deemed a danger to public morality for her candor about sexuality. By the end of her life Craddock, the nemesis of the notorious vice crusader Anthony Comstock, had become a favorite of free-speech defenders and women’s rights activists. She soon became as well the case-history darling of one of America’s earliest and most determined Freudians.

In Heaven’s Bride, prize-winning historian Leigh Eric Schmidt offers a rich biography of this forgotten mystic, who occupied the seemingly incongruous roles of yoga priestess, suppressed sexologist, and suspected madwoman. In Schmidt’s evocative telling, Craddock’s story reveals the beginning of the end of Christian America, a harbinger of spiritual variety and sexual revolution.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:56 -0400)

Traces the life of the nineteenth-century activist for women's rights and free speech, featuring her arrests for promoting progressive views about sexuality and her role as a case subject by an early Freudian scholar.

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