Boston: Colby & Rich, 1885.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 402 pp + 4 pages of ads for other works by Davis. Illustrated. Publisher's brown cloth with titles in gilt on spine. Minor insect damage to boards, otherwise a very nice copy, clean and sound. Ink-stamped signature of a Joseph H. Barnum on front free endpaper. Davis (1826-1910) was a major figure in nineteenth-century American Spiritualism. In the mid-1840s, he began delivering public discourses on scientific, historical, and philosophical matters while purportedly in a trance. In 1847, he published 800 pages of his trance revelations, which were widely read and debated. As religious historian Roger Ellwood relates, "when mysterious rappings were announced at the home of Catherine Fox, Margaret Fox, and Ann Leah Fox near Rochester, New York, in 1848, the phenomenon that ignited the Spiritualistic movement, Davis was quick to interpret them in terms of his philosophy and became a leading spokesman for the new faith....Davis to a large extent created early Spiritualism’s juxtaposition of Neoplatonist/Swedenborgian metaphysics, mesmeric trance, and radical/utopian thought on social issues such as marriage. Although little read today, his books and lectures had considerable influence in his time and provide important insights into the mid-nineteenth-century American experience" (ANB). This book touches many of the themes Jackson returned to throughout his lifetime and is extolled in the publisher's preface as containing "records of many wonderful spiritual seances, blended with trials and changes in Mr. Davis's personal life...which may be read with highest moral and intellectual advantage by parents and children, and by every class of philosophers and scientists in any part of the world."