17 June 2008
MESMER, Franz Anton (1734-1815). Mémoire sur la découverte du Magnétisme Animal. Geneva and Paris: Pierre-Frangois Didot le jeune, 1779.
8o (180 x 115 mm). Half-title. (One or two spots.) Contemporary marbled paper wrappers, manuscript paper label on backstrip, uncut (some edges a bit frayed); quarter morocco folding box. Provenance: Freres Perisse, Lyons (contemporary bookseller's label).
"SINCE HIS TIME THE INVESTIGATION OF HOW TO RELEASE SUBCONSCIOUS STATES THROUGH AUTO- AND HETERO-SUGGESTION HAS CONTINUED, AND THE WHOLE FIELD OF EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION AND SPIRITUALISM HAS AFFINITY WITH MESMERISM" (PMM)
FIRST EDITION OF THE MANIFESTO OF MESMERISM: presented to the French as a "natural" medicine at a time when the cult of nature and the popular enthusiasm for science had reached a peak. Numerous Parisians fell into "crisis" at the touch of Mesmer's hand and recovered with a new sense of being at harmony with the world. His followers, the mesmerists, published numerous case histories documenting their claims. "They produced an enormous barrage of propaganda -- at least 200 books and pamphlets, more than were written on any other single subject during the decade before the opening phase of the Revolution in 1787" (DSB). See Darnton, Mesmerism, pp. 3-81; En franais dans le text 171; Garrison-Morton 4992.1; Grolier Medicine 47; Heirs of Hippocrates 1013; Hunter-Macalpine, pp. 480-82; NLM/Blake, p.302; Norman M4; PMM 225; Tischner 10; Waller 6505.
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