Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

‘Under the influence’ in British India: James Esdaile's Mesmeric Hospital in Calcutta, and its critics

  • Waltraud Ernst (a1)

Synopsis

Mesmerism was for a period very popular in Victorian Britain. The special clinical approach developed by Dr J. Esdaile while on duty in British India is elaborated in detail. The controversy surrounding Esdaile's treatment of surgical, medical and psychiatric cases at the ‘mesmeric hospital’ at Calcutta is discussed, and the main arguments are set within their contemporary socio-cultural context. Some of the arguments advanced for and against mesmerism contain concerns similar to those that have been raised during later decades in regard to hypnotism and hypnotherapy.

Copyright

Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: Dr Waltraud Ernst, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton S017 1BJ.

References

Hide All
Benz, E. (1977). F. A. Mesmer und die philosophischen Grundlagen des animalischen Magnetismus. Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur: Mainz.
Braid, J. (1843). Neurypnology; or, the Rationale of Nervous Sleep, Considered in Relation with Animal Magnetism. Illustrated by Numerous Cases of its Successful Application in the Relief and Cure of Disease. Churchill: London.
Buranelli, V. (1976). The Wizard from Vienna: Franz Mesmer and the Origins of the Hypnotism. P. Owen: London.
Crabtree, A. (1993). From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing. Yale University Press: New Haven.
Darnton, R. (1970). Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France. Schocken: New York.
Dictionary of National Biography (18081859). Oxford University Press: London.
Esdaile, J. (1846) Mesmerism in India, and its Practical Application in Surgery and Medicine. London: Longman.
Gauld, A. (1992). A History of Hypnotism. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Goldsmith, M. (1934). F. A. Mesmer: the History of an Idea. Barkes: London.
Harrington, A. (1988). Hysteria, and the lure of the invisible: the rise of neo-mesmerism in fin-de-siècle French psychiatry. In The Anatomy of Madness. Essays in the History of Psychiatry. Vol III. The Asylum and its Psychiatry. (ed. Bynum, W. F., Porter, Roy, Shepherd, Michael), pp. 226246. Tavistock: London.
Heap, M. & Dryden, W. (eds.) (1991). Handbook of Hypnotherapy. Open University Press: Buckingham.
Lang, W. (1843). Mesmerism; Its History, Phenomena, and Practice: with Reports of Cases Developed in Scotland. Fraser and Co: Edinburgh.
Mesmer, F. A. (1948). Mesmerism, by Doctor Mesmer (1779). Being the First Translation of Mesmer's Historic ‘Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal’ to Appear in English. Macdonald: London.
Porter, R. (1985). ‘Under the influence’ — Mesmerism in England. History Today 9, (09), 2229.
Sarbin, T. (1991). Hypnosis: a fifty year perspective. Contemporary Hypnosis 8, 116.
Schott, H. (ed.) (1985). Franz A. Mesmer und die Geschichte des Mesmerismus. Stuttgart: F. Steiner.
Stewart, D. (17921827). Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (3 vols). Murray: London.
Sutton, G. (1981). Electric medicine and mesmerism. Isis, IXXII, 375392.
Wagstaf, G. F. (1981). Hypnosis, Compliance and Belief. Harvester Press: Brighton.
Williams, J. P. (1985). Psychical research and psychiatry in late Victorian Britain: trance as ecstasy or trance as insanity. In The Anatomy of Madness. Essays in the History of Psychiatry. Vol. 1. People and Ideas. (ed. Bynum, W. F., Porter, Roy, Shepherd, Michael), pp. 233254. Tavistock: London.
Wolters, G. (ed.) (1988). F. A. Mesmer und der Mesmerismus: Wissenschaft, Scharlatanerie, Poesie. Universitaetsverlag: Konstanz.

‘Under the influence’ in British India: James Esdaile's Mesmeric Hospital in Calcutta, and its critics

  • Waltraud Ernst (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed