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WOLFF, Charlotte.

The Human Hand....

With a preface by Dr William Stevenson.

Availability: In stock

Published: New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1943

Stock Code: 131433

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First US edition, first printing. This work provides an academic expansion of Wolff's 1936 work Studies in Hand Reading, in which she examined the possibility of "a close correlation between the detailed configuration of the hand and the outstanding traits forming the personality complex of the owner of the hands" (Schultz, p. 479). Wolff, who was affiliated with University College London at this time, makes clear in the preface to that work that her research was distinct from the practice of palmistry, and was instead founded in her medical training. She continued her study of hand reading in two further academic works; A Psychology of Gesture (1945) and The Hand in Psychological Diagnosis (1951). Wolff (1897-1986) was born in Riesenburg (now Prabuty, Poland) and studied literature and philosophy at the University of Freiburg before graduating in medicine. She then worked as a physician and psychotherapist in the predominantly under served working class districts of Berlin. In 1933 she was forced to flee Germany; she first went to the artist's community of Sanary-sur-Mer in Paris where she befriended Aldous Huxley and started studying the psychiatric properties of hands. She travelled with Huxley to London in 1935 where his wife Maria "devoted all her time and energy to introducing me into her and Aldous's circle", and took British citizenship in 1947 (Wolff, p. 87). Wolff is also widely respected for her pioneering works on lesbianism and bisexuality; her work Bisexuality: A Study (1977) was the first serious academic study to be published on the subject, and was the result of interviews with 150 self-identified bisexuals. The present work was first published in London in 1942. This work distinctly uncommon, especially so in the illustrated dust jacket, the front panel of which presents details of hands in notable paintings such as the Mona Lisa and a self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer.

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Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine in black, top edge red, others untrimmed. With the illustrated dust jacket.


With 12 photographic plates.


Loosely inserted in this copy is a review of the work printed in Time magazine on 31 May 1943. Faint toning to gutters of endpapers; a near-fine copy in the jacket with small chips to ends of faded spine, slight creasing to extremities.


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