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The Mesmerist: The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound

Wendy Moore.
Item #: D01020
Format: Paperback
Pages/Publication Date: 320 / 2017
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
ISBN: 9781474602310
Currently Unavailable

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.


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