20 October 1999
MESMER, Franz Anton (1734-1815). Mmoire sur la Dcouverte du Magntisme Animal. Geneva and Paris: P.F. Didot, 1779.
8 (184 x 108mm) Half-title, final blank. (Light browning to outer blank margins of half-title and title.) Contemporary French figured sheep, the flat spine gilt, red morocco lettering-piece (light rubbing to upper joint). Provenance: Gramont family (19th-century armorial bookplate).
A FINE LARGE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE MANIFESTO OF MESMERISM. Mesmer's theories and apparent cures attracted huge publicity and a large following in pre-revolutionary France. He based his claims around the power of a universal (but invisible) fluid to act as a panacea for disease. Mesmerism became as much a social movement as a medical discipline and spread throughout Europe and America in the period 1779 to 1784. In 1784 a French royal commission report dismissed Mesmer's claim and by 1789 the movement was in such disarray that Mesmer finally left France. He travelled to England, Austria, Germany and Italy, before finally settling in Switzerland, where he lived out the rest of his life in relative obscurity. Garrison & Morton 4992.1; Grolier Medicine 47; Heirs of Hippocrates 1013; Tischner 10; Waller 6505; Norman M4; PMM 225.
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