Cornhill Magazine,  3 (1861), 375–84.

The Turkish Bath

[Charles A Ward]




Health, Animal Magnetism, Controversy, Theory, Anti-Scientism, Immaterialism, Biogeography, Biological Diversity, Amateurism, Observation

People mentioned:

David Urquhart

    Despite the Englishman's 'boastful' conviction that his 'physical condition' is 'superior to that of any other two-legged creature in the world' (375), the author proselytizes on behalf of the 'primeval institution' of the Turkish hot-air bath. The 'true thermal principle of the Turkish bath', he claims, has contributed to the health and cleanliness of numerous peoples throughout recorded history. (376) Even the 'peculiar' process of shampooing during the act of bathing is 'an art of no mean attainment, and proves, as has been well remarked, that animal magnetism has been practised in the East for centuries, and rendered so practically manageable as to be fairly designated the handmaiden of health' (380). While an 'inextricable web of scientific yet conflicting theories, have all, as so many blind guides, led us away from the certain instincts which are the common heritage of a natural and self-grown humanity', the simple pleasures of Turkish bathing can help impart a new 'immaterialized' sense of health and well-being (382). The 'human body can [...] be designated as air carnalized' and the experience of thermal bathing can 'thoroughly harmonize the flesh and skin with the atmosphere' and thereby 'promote [...] spiritual nobility' (382–83). Also comments that the 'skin of birds presents a nearer affinity to that of man, as any one may see by looking in at the window of a poulterer's shop (there is no science like that of your own eyes)'. Concludes that Britain requires 'the full and scientific development of the thermal system, which will be found alike beneficial to the rich and the poor'. (384)

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]