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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A turn of the page » » Important Note re: new Dover edition of Maskelyne's Book of Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Clay Shevlin
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As a bibliophile, I'm always interested to learn interesting background facts about the publication history of books. As many of you may know by now, about 8 months ago Dover reprinted Maskelyne's Book of Magic, by Jasper Maskelyne. Happily for us magic historians, Dover commissioned Dr. Edwin A. Dawes to write an historically-oriented introduction for this new edition, and as we have come to expect from him, Eddie's 18 page introduction makes for delightful and informative reading. But here's something that most of us probably don't know: Dover revised certain portions of Eddie's introduction without his advance knowledge, and in some cases, rather substantively! Those of us familiar with Eddie and/or his publications know that he strives to present the reader with well-researched and accurate history, so upon learning about Dover's unannounced revisions to his text (only after he received copies of the reprint!), Eddie naturally felt obliged to memorialize these changes for the benefit of historical accuracy. Below is the text of Eddie's notes. I have a printout of these notes tucked into my copy of Maskelyne's Book of Magic, and if you have a copy of this book and are so inclined, now you can do the same.

Quote:
Maskelyne’s Book of Magic: A Note

In August 2009, Dover Books published a reprint of Maskelyne’s Book of Magic (1936) for which I was commissioned to provide an Introduction. This I did, but on publication discovered that four points important to magic historians had been edited out, and a final paragraph had been added, all without my knowledge. For the record, they are as follows:

p.xi. After mention of White Magic, the following sentence was deleted: “In the same year Maskelyne’s Book of Magic also appeared in bookshops. Edited (and presumably principally ghost-written) by Arthur Groom, who was not punctilious in acknowledging his sources, it provided a fairly comprehensive coverage”.

p. xii. David Fisher’s book The War Magician. The original text read “very readable but unreliable as an accurate record.” The last six words were deleted.

p. xix. The reasons for the ruinous failure of his marriage were deleted, namely “both his wife and her mother, who lived with them, being alcoholics, yet ultimately his wife outlived him by some fifteen years, still living in Africa. While Jasper also liked his liquor, neighbours and friends attest to the fact they had never seen him drunk.”

p. xix-xx. The final paragraph of the Introduction, starting with “The Dover reprint of…” is not of my authorship.

p. xx. Under Further Reading, reference to Richard Stokes’ web site, at present the only widely accessible source to his very important researches, has been deleted.

While I can appreciate that commercial interests do not always coincide with historical accuracy, I should not like my magical colleagues to think I had been less than objective in the Introduction I submitted for publication.

Edwin A. Dawes
Bill Palmer
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Clay:

Thanks for sending that. I know the level of scholarship Eddie aspires to. It would have been a shame for this to have hit the market without an explanation like this.
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MagiClyde
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Any idea how much this book costs and if I can get it at my local magic shop?
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
Bill Palmer
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It costs about $13.00. You can get it from Amazon.com for less than that.

If your local magic shop has an account with Dover, they can get it. Murphy's doesn't have it.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Bill Palmer
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Was Maskelyne's assistant named Femenyne?
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Magiguy
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Clay,
Many thanks!
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