Hollingsworth might very well be a mesmerist
himself when he attempts to make Coverdale a convert to his scheme.
In this sense, the French Revolution, with its "revolutionary madness," is presented by the spirit rapper as a mesmeric world-reform, in which vast invisible spirit forces and powerful mesmerists
had been at work--it was Satan who seemed to have been unbound then, and not Prometheus, since all hell indeed broke loose:
Many Victorian mesmeric manuals, despite claiming that the mesmerist
has absolute control over his subject, demonstrate a distinct uneasiness about who, after all, does have the power.
While the notion of universal fluid common to pantheism and mesmerism supported a belief in characteristics available to both men and women, the roles of the mesmerist
and somnambulist had certain gender associations in the nineteenth century.
To be sure, Fuller is suggesting here that Emerson has lived too much in the scholar's study and not enough in the world, perhaps even in a world where the "secret whispers of our parent life" might be found through the services of a mesmerist
Some weeks ago, for example, I was allowed to view the displays of a mesmerist
at the Cadiz Court House.
We learn about the actual techniques of a mesmerist
from a journalist's description of the trials and successes of one of the first foreign mesmerists
to -- as Winter puts it -- get off the ferry in 1837.
Rather than acting as the emancipators of blacks, abolitionists enslave white citizens by exerting an influence that echoes the relation between master and mesmerist
on the one side and slave and somnambulist on the other by clamoring "to enlist the passions of their followers, exact implicit obedience from them, and rule them with the utmost intolerance and authority" ("Slavery," p.
A most striking case was Jane Carlyle (wife of Thomas) who, in spite of herself, experienced, in the presence of a mesmerist
, a force akin to that of clutching a Galvanic ball.
This bears not only upon the story-telling of its devious, prying narrator Coverdale but also upon the communitarian project of Blithedale itself (with its Arcadian play-within-a-play) and which brings together Coverdale, the forger Old Moody, the blacksmith-philanthropist Hollingsworth (whose aim is to 'forge' a perfect prison), the exotic Zenobia, and others like the mesmerist
Westervelt, in order, at least ostensibly, to give the world a utopia.
Similarly, because Weaver conflates the roles of mesmerist
and mesmerized subject, he represents the same kind of refiguration of "Proof Positive'"s own genesis that "The Facts in the Case of M.
Priscilla, a pale innocent girl, fallen under the evil influence of the mesmerist
Westervelt, has performed as the Veiled Lady of Zenobia 's story.