Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(960 words)

1. Origins and method

The “invention” of Mesmerism can be dated to 1774/75. The Vienna-based German physician Franz Anton Mesmer believed that he had, in the course of his treatments, discovered a fluidum that governed the organism. He called it “animal magnetism” (animalischer Magnetismus, later also thierischer Magnetismus) and it also came to be known as Mesmerism. He was referring to a “vital magnetism,” as opposed to “mineral” magnetism. Mesmer triggered convulsions in his…

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Hochadel, Oliver, “Mesmerism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 28 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_023976>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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