By Martin Willis, Catherine Wynne
Victorian Literary Mesmerism examines the engagement among literature and mesmerism in Victorian writing. Drawing on contemporary tendencies in interdisciplinary literary scholarship the essays accumulated right here examine the advanced connections among medical mesmerism, its manifestations within the Victorian social and cultural global, and the literary mind's eye. the following, for the 1st time, the numerous issues and contexts formed through mesmeric practices are introduced jointly in a single quantity. Mesmerism’s impact on phrenology, medication and psychological health and wellbeing; its interplay with the occult and with verbal exchange applied sciences; the consequences of mesmeric rules on gender and sexuality, in addition to on felony behaviour, are ready in the context of literary texts that interrogate and critique mesmerism’s impression at the Victorians. This quantity could be of curiosity, for this reason, to students of Victorian literature and the historical past of technology, in addition to to these in cultural background with a spotlight on gender, sexuality, and sciences of the brain.
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Additional resources for Victorian Literary Mesmerism (Costerus NS 160)
Crichton’s use of this term alludes to the medical theory known as Brunonianism, according to which the cause of all diseases could be referred to a condition either of over- or understimulation of the nerves, and treated accordingly with stimulants of varying degrees of strength. 34 Both mesmerism and Brunonianism reduced the causes of disease to a single dimension, the presence or absence either of the magnetic fluid or of excitement. Some of the practices associated with mesmerism, such as stroking the body,35 could also be interpreted from a Brunonian perspective as inducing “excitement”.
36 Ilana Kurshan In some phreno-mesmeric experiments, the mesmerized subject was asked to read aloud from a printed text that was concealed both from the subject and the mesmerizer. The subject had to make out the words on the page in spite of intervening physical barriers. As Alphonse Teste wrote in his 1843 Practical Manual of Animal Magnetism: “Vision through the closed eyelids and through opaque bodies is not only a real fact, but a very frequent fact ... ”51 The journals reported on several mesmeric reading experiments to demonstrate the power of animal magnetism.
The desultory nature of Margrave’s conversation indicates the absence of a soul which, as Fenwick perceives slightly later in the mesmeric vision induced by Sir Philip Derval, “the future impels onward” (189). This is contrasted with the “concentrated will” displayed by Margrave’s earlier mortal incarnation as Louis Grayle (236). As the Eastern sage Haroun of Aleppo comments in the manuscript by Sir Philip Derval that Fenwick reads after his murder, such a creature as Margrave has become “of itself could not design, invent, complete” (241), which is why Margrave seeks Fenwick’s help in discovering how to make the elixir of life (he has already consumed Haroun’s store, and does not know the recipe).
Victorian Literary Mesmerism (Costerus NS 160) by Martin Willis, Catherine Wynne