The History of Magic [Bohn’s Scientific Library] London Henry G. Bohn, 1854 Ennemoser, Joseph
London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854. First English Translation. Two Fine Leather-bound Volumes.
Professionally rebound in red goat with leather spine straps with fasteners; spine titles pasted on; front titles inlaid, both in black calf leather with gilt titling. Endpages replaced. Half-titles present. 12mo; 7.5 inches tall; xvi, 471 with index & viii, 518 pages. The bindings are tight and square. Text clean with a small number of pencil marginalia, even toning with a few occasional foxing spots. Moderate handling wear to original textblocks. Half title page of Vol 1 has a small hole near the bottom and the gutter is weak.
The Appendix with material selected by Mary Howitt covers Apparitions, Dreams, Second Sight, Somnambulism, Predictions, Divination, Witchcraft; Vampires, Fairies, Table Turning, and Spirit-Rapping.
Joseph Ennemoser was a German doctor and scientist, noted for his use of magnetism and hypnosis. He was a forerunner of Freud in his belief in the connection between the mind and physical health, and his interest in psychology led to investigations into the paranormal and magic.
He became well known for his presentations about magic, delusions and apparently supernatural occurrences. He suggested that most of these phenomena appeared miraculous only because of a lack of understanding of the laws of nature.
The History of Magic was published in Leipzig in 1844, and translated into English in 1854 by William Howitt, a leading Spiritualist writer. Volume 1 deals with the different categories of magic and mysticism, and how they were viewed in ancient times. He discusses visions, dreams and soothsaying, and miracles in the Bible, and the link between classical medicine and oracles. [Cambridge]
The editor, his wife Mary, added a collection of supernatural and psychical occurrences, which illustrate the topics dealt with by Ennemoser. [GR]