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Lot 60
DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870, novelist and actor)
Sold for £840 (US$ 1,314) inc. premium

Lot Details
DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870, novelist and actor)
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ('Charles Dickens'), to Mowbray Morris (1819-1874, manager of The Times), ABOUT A CASE OF MESMERISM: he asks him to tell Mrs Elliott [perhaps the wife of Dr Gilbert Elliott, Dean of Bristol] that he is 'not the vagabond' she thinks him since he has not forgotten his promise, but felt that a particular case of the mesmerist Dr Elliotson was not a good one for a novice to see; he states that he will fulfil his promise when he hears of a better case; enthusiastically proposes himself if Morris means 'to try the spell' ('...I am the man for the experiment...') and suggests Sunday as a possible time ('...if you have really a mind to test your susceptibility...'), 2 pages, octavo, slight trace of former hinge, Devonshire Terrace, 24 March 1850

Footnotes

  • Dr John Elliotson (1791-1868), the distinguished physician (who introduced the stethoscope to England) and foremost exponent of mesmerism in England, became a friend of Dickens and received an inscribed copy of David Copperfield from him.

    Dickens became a firm believer in the therapeutic science of mesmerism and a keen amateur practitioner of it. He wrote: 'I should be untrue...to...myself if I should shrink for a moment from saying that I am a believer, and that I became so against all my preconceived opinions...' He first demonstrated his skills when travelling in America in 1842. On his return to England he regularly mesmerised his friends and members of his family, both for amusement and to alleviate illness. One of his great successes was in helping to cure John Leech when he had a serious accident in 1849.
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