London: H. Bailliere, 1843. 8vo. 93,  pp., including errata and publisher's advertisements. FIRST EDITION. Half-calf over contemporary marbled boards, interior excellent. Item #4926
HYPNOSIS IN SURGERY. First edition. Elliotson was one of the first in England to perform surgical operations with the aid of hypnotism. In this, his first work on the use of hypnosis in surgery, he discusses many of his own successful cases, as well as commenting on accounts of others. However, the main inspiration for this book was the operation (and the controversy which arose from it) performed the previous year by W. Squire Ward, an narrative of which was published by Ward and Sir William Topham entitled Account of a case of successful amputation of the thigh during the mesmeric state (London, Baillière, 1842). Topham, a lawyer interested in mesmerism, performed the hypnosis (see G&M 5650.1).
Elliotson (1791-18687) joined with Braid and Esdaile in promoting the use of mesmeric anesthesia during surgical operations. He declared that God had implanted in the human body the healing power of animal magnetism, and that somnambulism was the best and quickest way of relieving pain. Despite his numerous successes, he was accused of fraud and deemed a swindler by the conservative British medical establishment, forcing him to resign his professorship at the University of London as well as other professional offices. "He was a great friend of Dickens and Thackeray, but his views on hypnotism were bitterly opposed by Thomas Wakley, editor of the Lancet, whose onslaughts eventually led to his downfall" (G&M).