Publisher Information: Geneva: Didot jeune, 1779.
Mesmer, Franz Anton (1734-1815). Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal. 8vo. , vi, 85, pp. Geneva & Paris: Didot, 1779. 167 x 106 mm. 18th-century mottled calf, gilt spine, front hinge cracked, rear hinge tender, small chip in lower spine, corners worn. Very good, crisp copy. Bookplate.
First Edition. The manifesto of animal magnetism. On the eve of the French Revolution, Mesmer captured the imagination of the Parisian public with his remarkable ability to effect cures by throwing his patients into “mesmeric” trances. As much a social movement as a medical practice, mesmerism spread quickly throughout Europe and America, and became such a mania in pre-Revolutionary France that between 1779 and 1789 more literature was generated on mesmerism than on any other single topic. At first Mesmer used actual magnets to perform his cures but later dispensed with these in the belief that nearly all substances could be magnetized by touch. He employed either direct contact between physician and patient, or contact via the “baquet,” a tub-like apparatus which could be charged with the universal fluid like a Leyden jar. Mesmer always insisted on the physical nature of his cures, which he initially ascribed to magnetic forces or electricity; later he devised the theory of a “universal fluid” acting on the nervous system, which was susceptible to this fluid on account of its inherent property of “animal magnetism.” Mesmer’s discovery of what would later be called hypnosis led to the large-scale investigation of psychological phenomena, and is thus an ancestor of psychopathology and psychotherapy. Crabtree, Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism and Psychical Research: An Annotated Bibliography, 10. Garrison-Morton.com 4992.1. Printing and the Mind of Man 225. Norman M4.Book Id: 51392