is Whitman not only revealing his own interest in mesmerism but also playing a surprisingly important role in establishing the credibility of animal magnetism
in New York and the nation in the early 1840s, just as the phenomenon really began to take off.
Soon he was doing without the magnets, using his fingers to send animal magnetism
streaming from his body to the sufferers.
Franz Anton Mesmer presented 27 propositions about animal magnetism
in his Memoire sur Ia Decouverte du Magnetisme Animal, published in 1779.
The fact is, that in the middle of the nineteenth century animal magnetism
was considered by the elite as an important challenge in relation to which science should define itself.
Hawthorne's fictional representation dovetails with reports in New England newspapers of the 1830s-1840s of young women who found their "nervous" anxiety and agitation eased by the influence of animal magnetism
The fascination with animal magnetism
has grown out of a long-standing interest in allegedly wondrous events and objects.
Malicious Animal Magnetism
was also a rich arena for the movement's sexual undercurrents, disavowed by Eddy but acted out to her dismay by many of her erstwhile followers.
Eddy was undeterred; Gilbert Eddy had died from the effect of negative mesmeric forces--later Christian Scientists called it malicious animal magnetism
or "MAM"--directed at him by the movement's enemies.
Beryl Gray has demonstrated that George Eliot shared the Victorian fascination with animal magnetism
, or mesmerism, and that the clairvoyant abilities of Latimer, the hero, parallel those described in the contemporary literature on the subject.
From Jack Maggs it is possible to pick up a lot of rich street slang; gain insight into the middle-class yen for Mesmerism, animal magnetism
and other forms of pseudoscience; learn how to wash and powder one's hair into the proper pomaded shape required of a footman; and acquire a sensitivity to the correlation between the plateware of a respectable house and the precise class status of those who rule as masters there.
The forty-eight-year-old Reina's animal magnetism
and endless conquests seem a bit hyperbolic even by the standards of magic realism, to which Garcia subscribes in a subdued manner.
Thirty-two pages list entries on animal magnetism
, 52 on hypnotism.