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The Mesmerist: The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound Hardcover – 9 Mar 2017

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (27 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1474602290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1474602297
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.9 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Wendy Moore has written a thrilling account of this odd byway of medical history...she has successfully taken a historical episode and used it to colour in the world of 19th-century scientific endeavour and its attempts to uncover the still-unexplained mysteries of the human unconscious (Lucy Lethbridge LITERARY REVIEW)

Engrossing...her social history of Victorian medicine, which struggled with innovation and provision for the poor, also feels rivetingly topical...[A] witty and instructive tale (Miranda Seymour DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Elliotson, as Moore's engrossing study describes, became passionate about hypnosis, under which (he tried to prove) a patient could have surgery without pain. His demonstrations became as fashionable as any theatre - but was it fraud? (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

The enthralling story of the Victorian doctor who claimed patients could be cured and operated on with hypnosis - only to be branded a fraud by the medical establishment. Today he's been triumphantly vindicated (DAILY MAIL)

Charles Dickens, as it happens, has a cameo role in Moore's book. Sceptical at first about the powers of mesmerism, the novelist became a convert after witnessing one of the many sessions run by John Elliotson, the doctor who helped to start a craze for putting Londoners, sick and healthy alike, into trances (Clive Davis THE TIMES)

Lively...Moore tells her story with gusto (Lucy Hughes-Hallett THE OBSERVER)

Fascinating...she brings the London medical world to vivid life. Elliotson's experiments were covered in lavish detail by contemporary journals, but Moore has made this an altogether richer story by judicious use of details gleaned from diaries, case reports and hospital archives (Thomas Morris TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

Medicine in Victorian Britain was brutish and operations were performed without anaesthetic. Enter the self-styled Baron Dupotet, promoting hypnosis. Crowds flocked to see Elizabeth and Jane Okey mesmerised then suffer electric shocks or have nails hammered through their cheeks. So was his mesmerism quackery or real medical aid? (John Lewis Stempel SUNDAY EXPRESS)

The idea of a higher, healing state took 19th-century society by storm but, as this lively book shows, it was to prove controversial (HISTORY REVEALED)

Wendy Moore is an expert guide to the world of early 19th-century medicine, and this fascinating book is packed with buccaneering, larger-than-life doctors and gruesome operations, as well as the minutely documented antics of the Okey sisters. UCH in those times was evidently a much livelier place than it is today under our dear old NHS (Jane Ridley THE SPECTATOR)

Book Description

From the author of the No. 1 bestseller WEDLOCK, the story of two pioneering scientists, and a nation held under the spell of mesmerism...

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28 June 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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2 August 2018
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
27 April 2017
Format: Hardcover
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24 May 2017
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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3 July 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
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