2 MESMER, F.A. /Hypnotic power and magnetism /Virtual Fair 106


Description: The 'invention' of hypnotic power and magnetism by a predecessor of Freud and Jung

MESMER, Franz Anton.
Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal.

Geneva & Paris, P. Fr. Didot le jeune, 1779. 12mo. Later mottled calf, spine gilt with red morocco label lettered in gold. (2), VI, 85, (2) pp. with the last blank.

Original edition of this 'manifesto' on the medical use of 'magnetism' and the healing magnetic power in his own hands, which he called 'animal magnetism'. Anton Mesmer (1733-1815) was an Austrian physician whose name is perpetuated in the word 'Mesmerism'. Mesmer maintained that a magnetic fluid pervades the universe, exists in every living being and affects the nervous system. During his famous sessions in Paris, arousing royal interest, he induced sleep and did, in fact, use hypnotic power, then called 'Mesmeric sleep'. Louis XVI set up a committee with a.o. Benjamin Franklin and Lavoisier, to investigate animal magnetism. The report condemned 'mesmerism' medically; but the idea had taken hold and spread all over Europe. So famous he became that Mozart, who was on friendly terms with Mesmer, could refer to him in his opera Cosi fan tutte.
The present book is the very first account of Mesmer's theories.
Mesmer was undoubtedly sincere, despite his theatrics. Suggestibility on the part of the patient can, without question, be the key to his discovery; and having found this out, Mesmer became, unwittingly, a pioneer of psychotherapy: Freud's first experiments were on hypnotic patients and Jung was particularly close to mesmerism in his belief that consciousness could transcend time and space.
Very good copy.- (Some faint soiling).
En Français dans le texte 171; Printing and the mind of man 225; Garrison Morton 4992.1.; Kelly, p. 285; G. Frankau, Mesmerism, (Engl. translation) with introductory monograph by -- (London 1958); a very interesting account on Mesmer and Mesmerism in J. Vijselaar, De magnetische geest. Het dierlijk magnetisme 1770-1830. Diss. Utrecht (Nijmegen 2001), p.17-39, 68-70 with an ill. of the title-page on p. 31 and of the only surviving 'baquet of Mesmer' on p. 33.
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