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Profile of MagicSteve84
Hey Guys,

I need your help again. As some of you know, you guys were an amazing resource when it came to my last college project. My teacher was so impressed on my report of "The Consumer Behavior of Magicians" that he recommended it and I am now in the process of going to Puerto Rico to present it so other business students (Don't worry...None of it involves exposure).

I decided to do another research paper for my Senior Seminar class on magic. It is a research paper where I must explain my position and use books to illustrate my points. My position is that magic is an art, just like dance or drama. Unfortunately I am having trouble finding appropriate sources to utilize. I know that many of you have huge magic libraries so I was hoping that you could recommend some books that would help me in my quest to answer why magic is an art.

Here are the books I have so far:

Magic By Misdirection - Dariel Fitzkee
Beyond Secrets - Jay Sankey
Hiding the Elephant - Jim Steinmeyer
Maximum Entertainment - Ken Weber
Shattering Illusions - Jamy Ian Swiss
Strong Magic - Darwin Ortiz
The Discoverie of Witchcraft - Reginald Scot (I am using this source because it is the oldest know publication on magic)

I have skimmed through most of these books and read Strong Magic cover to cover. If you can suggest any more that may be helpful in my research please post them. Also, if you know of some great passages in the above books, please post the page number. Other than that its back to research for me. I love doing a report on something I enjoy....makes the whole process so much easier. Thanks in advanced guys. Hopefully with your help I will get another A on this paper.
Clay Shevlin
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Profile of Clay Shevlin
A must read in this category: Maskelyne & Devant's Our Magic, the first portion of which ("The Art of Magic") was republished as Maskelyne on the Performance of Magic.

Another author who may be helpful is Sam Sharpe. See his Magic Artistry and Neo Magic. You should also consult Art and Magic, published by The Miracle Factory and edited by Todd Karr and Vito Lupo, which is a compilation of some of Sharpe's writings on the subject of magic and artistry.

Try also Robert Parrish's For Magicians Only: A Guide to the Art of Mystifying, a title I have not read, but think may be helpful.

Hope this helps a bit.

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Profile of sethb
Take a look at some of the essays in the Tarbell Course on showmanship and presentation, as well as the introduction to "Greater Magic." Another book that may be helpful (I haven't read it) is Richard Osterlind's "The Principles of Magic."

There's no question in my mind that magic is an art, because it combines skill with psychology, stagecraft, the spoken word and a host of other disciplines. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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Oregon City Oregon, Oregon
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Profile of RevJohn

I would suggest looking at Eugene Burger's books. (Not to forget the Mystery School Book, with Jeff McBride). Perhaps Burger's books point out sometimes when Magic stops becoming an art (with some of his witty illustrations of how the "generic" magician comes up with his act, how he practices, etc).

Even that is helpful. Nice to know what the definition is "not" when flushing out what it "is."

If you need more specifics on these books, you can PM me but I don't have my library in front of me.

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Profile of nostrings
I have read Priciples of Magic and it will help you out, the first part is about exactly what you are looking for and its darn good book too.

Uli Weigel
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Profile of Uli Weigel
I second Clay's recommendation of "Our Magic" by Maskelyne/Devant. Get this book first, because as it tackles your very question and is still considered as one of the most important books on the theory of magic.
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Profile of redheadjuggler
Derren Brown's books are really good once you past his arrogant side. They're deep, but insightful. I used them for my senior project in college along with several other resources. Paul Harris also puts some good theory into the Art of Astonishment books, and believe it or not David Blaine's book has some good stuff in it.
Something else to consider is books on theatre. I used some performance theory to discuss the build in theatrical qualities to magic (acting, plot, build up and climax).
I did papers on magic for both my Communication degree and my theatre minor, I'd love to read you paper when it's done.
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Profile of asmayly
(I wrote this reply on another forum where it was asked before ...)

I'm not an authority on Art but my thinking would be based on Tarbell's discussion of magic in the first volume, that magic today is an extension of magic in culture as with shamans and other religious leaders.

If magic isn't art, then it must be religious. But it isn't that. It seems to me that magic today is therefore "representative" of religious magic and so that would make it an art by my way of figuring.

The fact that magic today involves the audience is part of the representation of when religious leaders involved people in their ceremonies.

From this all the books mentioned above come into play in terms how best to involve your audience, clarify your message and make the magic seem real.
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