Hints to Credulity! or, An Examination of the Pretensions of Miss M. McAvoy; occasioned by Dr. Renwick's "Narrative" of her case. Curious and Bizarre, Joseph SANDARS.
Hints to Credulity! or, An Examination of the Pretensions of Miss M. McAvoy; occasioned by Dr. Renwick's "Narrative" of her case.

Hints to Credulity! or, An Examination of the Pretensions of Miss M. McAvoy; occasioned by Dr. Renwick's "Narrative" of her case.

Liverpool, England: William Robinson, ND (1817?). First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo. 70pp. Superb half-leather binding by renowned London book-binder Bernard C. Middleton. Brown calf over marbled papered boards, raised bands and gilt titles and decorations on spine. A rebuttal of the claims of the extraordinary powers of perception attributed to Margaret McAvoy (1800-1820), a blind girl who was said to be able to recognise colours and written words using non-visual senses such as touch and smell. McAvoy was examined by Thomas Renwick M.D., physician to the Liverpool Infirmary, who confirmed the girl's blindness, and put her through an extensive series of tests, witnessed by third parties, during which she wore various masks and blindfolds so as to ensure that she was not "seeing" by more conventional means. In 1817 Renwick published an account of his interactions with McAvoy, from mid-1816 until October 1st, 1817 under the title "A Narrative of the Case of Miss Margaret McAvoy." In this he included a brief correspondence between James Hughes, McAvoy's father-in-law, and Sandars regarding a visit that Sandars made to see Margaret McAvoy. Sandars, who regarded the McAvoy claims as a hoax, viewed the publication of the letters out-of-context an attempt to trade on his good name, and in response published this detailed rejection of the McAvoy claims, along with the complete text of the (short) correspondence. Because of its emphasis on apparently miraculous hyperaesthesia, McAvoy's claims drew the attention of Psychical Researchers, as well as opthalmologists and those interested in the obscure by ways of medicine and were widely discussed at the time. From the collection of Dr. M. H. Coleman, with his ex-libris seal blind-stamped on the front free endpaper. Boards very slightly bowed, endpapers slightly discolored around edges, otherwise a clean & complete VG+ copy of a very scarce work. Item #49542

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