Doctor of Love : James Graham and His Celestial Bed
Widely accepted as the world's first sex therapist, Dr Graham was devoted to the research of the effect of physical stimuli on the psyche, and more specifically on sexual activity. It was this that led him to invent his infamous Celestial Bed, a contraption akin to a torture rack, yet built with the intent to impart exquisite sexual pleasure rather than excruciating physical pain. Medicine in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was generally more prone to inflict pain than to relieve it. Patients were bled, blistered, lanced, poked and chopped up, all with little or no anaesthesia, and it was the hurt administered by these methods which caused Graham to concern himself with the more "gentle" side of the profession.Unsurprisingly, such a concern was met with both outrage and controversy. Syson's biography is a truly emotive depiction of both the man himself and eighteenth-century society. By following him from his native Edinburgh to America and back again, "The Love Doctor" achieves a breadth not commonly found in biography, and renders an unforgettable portrait of a truly remarkable man.
- Hardback | 394 pages
- 140 x 220 x 30.48mm | 453.59g
- 01 Apr 2009
- Alma Books Ltd
- Surrey, United Kingdom
"Wordsworth gave us the egotistic sublime, and Graham the sexual sublime; Lydia Syson has given us a highly enjoyable peep from behind the partition at one of the 18th century's weirdest and most wonderful figures." --"Literary Review" "Eye-opening." --"Time Out" "Lydia Syson investigates the life of this most progressive of quacks in an engaging dash around the credulous and curious world of Enlightenment medicine . . . This meticulous reconstruction of his journey from obscure apothecary to London society darling is a vibrant portrait of a surprisingly modern world . . . Her discussion of Graham's methods and influences is exhaustive and often illuminating." --"Times Literary Supplement" "Syson's enthralling book offers a new portrait of Graham as an authentic innovator . . . [an] admirable and engaging book." --"The Guardian" "Syson pins the iconoclastic Graham like a butterfly on the wider canvas of a lively social history." --"The Times" "Syson combines a sure grasp of intellectual history with enough awareness of just how much fun her story is. More than that, it shows how the failures and eccentrics of history are often the most intriguing subjects." --"Scotland on Sunday"
About Lydia Syson
Lydia Syson is a journalist and former BBC radio producer, and has spent the past two years researching Williams' life. This is her first book.