Across Victorian Britain, apparently reasonable people twisted into bizarre postures, called out in unknown languages, and placidly bore assaults that should have caused unbearable pain all while they were mesmerized. Alison Winter's fascinating cultural history traces the history of mesmerism in Victorian society. Mesmerized is both a social history of the age and a lively exploration of the contested territory between science and pseudo-science.
"Dazzling. . . . This splendid book . . . gives us a new form of historical understanding and a model for open and imaginative reading."—James R. Kinkaid, Boston Globe
"A landmark in the history of science scholarship."—John Sutherland, The Independent
"It is difficult to imagine the documentary side of the story being better done than by Winter's well-researched and generously illustrated study. . . . She is a lively and keen observer; and her book is a pleasure to read purely for its range of material and wealth of detail. . . . Fruitful and suggestive."—Daniel Karlin, Times Literary Supplement
"An ambitious, sweeping and fascinating historical study. . . . Beautifully written, thoroughly researched, and well-illustrated."—Bernard Lightman, Washington Times
Drawing on an astoundingly rich store of archival material from museums, libraries, hospitals and record offices, Alison Winter sets out in her beautifully (and often comically) illustrated study to prove how central mesmerism was to the Victorian way of life.... Inpeccably researched.