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Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature

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Franz Anton Mesmer's concept of animal magnetism exercised a profound influence on key European and American thinkers. Mesmer, who saw in his discovery the secret of health, had hoped to recover the harmony between man and nature by harnessing the power of magnetic fluids. In calling attention to the existence of a second self that surfaces in the hypnotic trance, Mesmer made his real contribution and took the first, decisive steps on the road leading to the unconscious. While most critical studies of mesmerism originate in ...

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