Publisher Information: Paris: Masson, 1866.
535pp. 220 x 145 mm. Half morocco ca. 1866, light edgewear. Fine copy. First edition.
The use of hypnotic suggestion as psychotherapy may have begun with the work of Liébeault, whose Le sommeil represents two years of clinical study of the theraputic uses of hypnotism. Liébeault had discovered that some of his patients, especially those with "nervous" complaints, benefitted by being hypnotized and given reassuring suggestions while under the physician's influence. He concluded that this heightened suggestibility under hypnosis was the key to successful treatment of nervous illnesses, although he could present no theory to explain this puzzling phenomenon. Liébeault's work attracted the interest of Hippolyte Marie Bernheim, who went to Nancy to observe Liébeault's methods. The two men established the Nancy School of psychiatry, whose empirical, therapeutic and clinical approach to the uses of hypnosis contrasted with the investigative and systematizing philosophy of Charcot's Salpetrière School. Liébeault's work indirectly influenced Sigmund Freud, who studied with Bernheim two decades later.
The first edition of Liebault's work seems to have been almost completely ignored by the medical community. J. Milne Bramwell, one of Liebault's English colleagues, claimed that only one copy of the first edition had been sold-- almost certainly an exaggeration, but nevertheless indicative of the book's disappointing reception. Crabtree 896. GM 4994. Hunter & Macalpine, p. 907. Norman 1347. Zilboorg & Henry, pp. 357-359.Book Id: 43416