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Kornmann Group



The Kornmann group was an offshoot of the Société de la Harmonie Universelle, founded in 1784 by Anton Mesmer to promote his mystical programme of animal magnetism, which rapidly fostered affiliated societies across France, as well as in San Domingue (now Haiti) and Malta. By the time of its greatest activity (1787-89), it had neglected mesmerism to devote itself fully to the political crisis, extending the fight against the "despotism of the academies" into the wider battle against political despotism. Other members who gathered at Kornmann's house included Nicolas Bergasse, Guillaume Kornmann, Duval d'Eprémesnil, the marquis de Chastellux, the marquis de Jaucourt, the duc de Lauzun (Biron), Adrien Duport, Antoine-Joseph Gorsas, Jean-Louis Carra, the Rolands and abbé Sabathier. Brissot published an anonymous mesmerist manifesto, 'Un mot à l'oreille des académiciens de Paris' (no date) and would later claim in his posthumously published 'Memoirs', "that those who assembled in his [Kornmann's] house have contributed singularly to speeding up the revolution. One cannot calculate the number of tracts that it produced. It was from this source that almost all the works published against the ministry in 187 and 1788 were released". Many of these were funded by Kornmann. For a good account, see Robert Darnton, 'Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France' (1968, Harvard University Press), especially pp.78ff. See also 'Memoires de J.-P. Brissot (1754-93)', ed. Claude Perroud (Paris, 1911), ii: 53-56.