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Dream, Creativity, and Madness in Nineteenth-Century France$
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Tony James

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151883

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151883.001.0001

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Le Globe and the Intervention of History

Le Globe and the Intervention of History

Chapter:
(p.40) 5 Le Globe and the Intervention of History
Source:
Dream, Creativity, and Madness in Nineteenth-Century France
Author(s):

Tony James

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151883.003.0005

This chapter focuses on Alexandre Bertrand. Bertrand, trained as a doctor and engineer, had a practical and scientific attitude towards the study of mesmerism and somnambulism, even so he did not hesitate to change some of his initial beliefs. He published two important works. One was the Traité du somnambulisme (1823) and the other was his Histoire critique du magnétisme animal en France (1826). This work explains how he had been led to the conclusion that animal magnetism does not exist, thus changing the opinion he had held in his previous work and in his public lectures. Bertrand was a major contributor on medical matters to the ‘liberal romantic’ journal Le Globe and the series of articles he wrote in 1825 publicized his revised ideas before they became available in book form. His distinctive contribution was to see somnambulism as a kind of ecstasy, and he used historical material.

Keywords:   Alexandre Bertrand, mesmerism, somnambulism, animal magnetism, ecstasy

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