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The Mesmerist : The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound, Paperback / softback Book

The Mesmerist : The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback

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Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business.

Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions.

The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy.

Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world.

Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science.

In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, theLancet, 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.

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, between science and superstition.

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