|Pages/Publication Date:||320 / 2017|
|Publisher:||Weidenfeld & Nicolson|
In the early 1800s, medicine was a brutal business, with surgeons using leeches, cupping, and a swig of brandy to comfort patients. Charismatic and ambitious, John Elliotson was determined to transform the medical profession with the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, The Lancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice. Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor—the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet—arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. As Wendy Moore reveals here, the mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder—throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery.