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Trance-Migrations
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Listen to what I am about to tell you: do not read this book alone. You really shouldn't. In one of the most playful experiments ever put between two covers, every other section of Trance-Migrations prescribes that you read its incantatory tales out loud to a lover, friend, or confidant, in order to hypnotize in preparation for Lee Siegel's exploration of an enchanting India. To read and hear this book is to experience a particular kind of relationship, and that's precisely the point: hypnotism, the book will demonstrate, is an essential aspect of our most significant relationships, an inherent dimension of love, religion, medicine, politics, and literature, a fundamental dynamic between lover and beloved, deity and votary, physician and patient, ruler and subject, and, indeed, reader and listener. Even if you can't read this with a partner - and I stress that you certainly ought to - you will still be in rich company. There is Shambaraswami, an itinerant magician, hypnotist, and storyteller to whom villagers turn for spells that will bring them wealth or love; Jose-Custodio de Faria, a Goan priest hypnotizing young and beautiful women in nineteenth-century Parisian salons; James Esdaile, a Scottish physician for the East India Company in Calcutta, experimenting on abject Bengalis with mesmerism as a surgical anesthetic; and Lee Siegel, a writer traveling in India to learn all that he can about hypnosis, yoga, past life regressions, colonialism, orientalism, magic spells, and, above all, the power of story. And then there is you: descending through these histories - these tales within tales, trances within trances, dreams within dreams - toward a place where the distinctions between reverie and reality dissolve. Here the world within the book and that in which the book is read come startlingly together. It's one of the most creative works we have ever published, a dazzling combination of literary prowess, scholarly erudition, and psychological exploration - all tempered by warm humor and a sharp wit. It is informing, entertaining, and, above all, mesmerizing.
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Table of Contents

IN[TRO]DUCTION: Reading, Listening, and Hypnosis MAYAVATI'S SPELL: India, Stories, and Hypnosis Part One: For the Reader The Child's Story The Hypnographer's Story Part Two: For the Listener The Storyteller's Tale The Magician's Tale LE SOMMEIL LUCIDE: Religion, Sex, and Hypnosis Part One: For the Reader The Abbe's Story The Sculptor's Story The Psychiatrist's Story The Screenwriter's Story Part Two: For the Listener The Translator's Tale The Writer's Tale The Reader's Tale The Listener's Tale AN-ESTHETICS: Politics, Medicine, and Hypnosis Part One: For the Reader The Surgeon's Story The Anesthesiologist's Story Part Two: For the Listener The Patient's Tale The Mesmerist's Tale BIBLIOGRAPHY: History, Fiction, and Hypnosis

About the Author

Lee Siegel is professor of religious studies at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of many books, including Love in a Dead Language, Who Wrote the Book of Love?, and Love and the Incredibly Old Man, all published by the University of Chicago Press.

Reviews

"Whether or not you fall into a trance while reading this book, the intellectual delight that comes from allowing yourself to surrender to it is reward enough. As in all of his work, Siegel challenges us to examine the infinite aspects of subjective reality more deeply than we could alone. He does so with wit, scholarship, passionate engagement, and, most of all, humor." -Sheri Holman, author of Witches on the Road Tonight

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