A defence of mesmerism by the preeminent magnetizer of Lyon
Jean-Baptiste Bonnefoy. Analyse Raisonnée des Rapports des Commissaires chargés par Le Roi de L'Examen du Magnétisme Animal.
[Lyon?], 1784. 8vo (18,7 x 11,7 cm). 98 pp.
Modern marbled boards. In very good condition, last leaves slightly foxed.
A defence of mesmerism by the preeminent magnetizer of Lyon.
Mesmerism (animal magnetism) was one of the greatest movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, named after Franz Mesmer. Although Mesmer was convinced that his method was purely scientific, many of his contemporaries regarded him as a charlatan. In 1784 an appointed commission of the French Academy of Sciences investigated Mesmer's discovery.
The commission, boasting such eminent members as Benjamin Franklin and Lavoisier, finally denied the existence of animal magnetism and, subsequently, it's supposed curing effect. The present pamphlet was one of several texts written in response to the Academy's conclusion. Bonnefoy strongly defends mesmerism, "using, among other things, arguments drawn from the electrical science of the day" (Crabtree).
Caillet 1389 ("travail intéressant"); Crabtree 40; The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine M-55; cf. Betsy van Schlun, Science and Imagination. Mesmerism, Media and the Mind (2007), pp. 27-49.