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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » "Our Magic" by Maskelyne and Devant (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Stonewick
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I have finally gotten around to reading “Our Magic” by Maskelyne and Devant. I am astounded by the wisdom, insightfulness, authority and all around practicality of this amazing book.
I hate that it took me this long to get to it!

On this, its 100th anniversary, it would be interesting to hear how this book has impacted those who frequent this forum.
tommy
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One of two of my most loved book. I have had the short version since 1976 - Maskelyne on the Performance of Magic. Nevil Maskelyne. $2.00 Still reading it and learning from it today.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Dick Christian
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One of the great, but currently little known and largely ignored by the current crop of newbies and wannabes, volumes in the literature of magic. The best information is usually found in the oldest books. Thankfully, as a result of the popularity of one trick DVDs, YouTube and the marketing of magic on the Internet, the really good stuff escapes the notice of the newbies. Their loss, and we old-timers gain.
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markmiller
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Maskelyne's knowledgable advantage over the many newbies who put out and consume the latest drivel is that he had decades/thousands of hours of real world - performing for audiences - experience to draw on. Maskelyne On The Performance of Magic should be required reading.
Jonathan Townsend
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That works much better if they are also spending much time in front of audiences and can feel the changes in audience response as they apply what they are reading.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2011-01-07 18:38, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
That works much better if they are also spending much time in front of audiences and can feel the changes in audience response as they apply what they are reading.

Yup. But I'd say "general audiences."
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markmiller
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There's no substitute for doing a lot of shows.
Darkwing
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Our Magic is a book that should be read and studied by every magician. Even though the book centers around parlor and stage magic, the principles easily apply to all magic entertainment situations. It is not an easy or light read. I suggest taking the book in small bits at first, think about what you have read so that you can wrap your mind around what the authors are trying to convey. This book changed the way I look at and approach magic. I am constantly going back to the book and always learning something new.

Here is a link from Martin Lewis' website that includes Maskelyne's 24 Rules of Magic; http://www.magikraft.com/curiosities/etcetera.html

Another great resource for any magician is Levent's Fundamental Rules of Stage Magic which compliments Maskelyne's rules; http://web.mac.com/leventmagic/LeventMagic/Rules.html

Please keep in mind Levent's rules are copyright protected so please respect his intellectual property.
Whit Haydn
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Don't forget Darwin's Laws from Designing Miracles, which are also invaluable.
Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2011-01-08 14:13, Whit Haydn wrote:
Don't forget Darwin's Laws from Designing Miracles, which are also invaluable.


Another vote here. What a brilliant book as well
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Hugokhf
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Is this book still in print? I am really interested in it

I notice a e-book version in lybrary.com, but I struggle in reading ebooks and it costs a lot to print it out.
Whit Haydn
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Both books are essential to a good understanding of the art of magic.
Darkwing
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Quote:
On 2011-08-12 18:28, Whit Haydn wrote:
Both books are essential to a good understanding of the art of magic.


Whit is correct. I cannot believe that I have waited until now to read "Designing Miracles". Boy do I feel really stupid. Should have gotten this book when it first came out.
ViolinKing
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Stonewick: Just a heads up. I purchased that book from Amazon as well as receiving a copy from a generous member of the Magic Café. Both were identical, and both were missing the section written by David Devant. From what I could tell, there was meant to be a separate part of the book written by David which had his working of the Billiard Balls, and some other things. My memory isn't clear on this but I do know that I formed the opinion that the part written by David was left out of the copies I had... and likely all digital copies.

I do have a copy of Devant's book, "Secrets of My Magic."
Gerald Deutsch
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There are 3 "Parts" of the book:

Part I The Art In Magic by Nevil Maskelyne
Part II The Theory Of Magic by Nevil Maskelyne
Part III The Practice Of Magic by David Devant
ViolinKing
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Yes, part III was missing from both my amazon copy as well as the copy provided by a member of the magic Café.
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Dec 10, 2017, ViolinKing wrote:
Yes, part III was missing from both my amazon copy as well as the copy provided by a member of the magic Café.


IIRC...David Devant was, "allowed to resign" from the Magic Circle, years ago. I don't remember for sure, but, he may have been "invited" to return, later.
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ViolinKing
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Dick: there are some details in "Hiding the Elephant. ". I skimmed it. He was allowed to return, spent the last of his days in hospital.
ViolinKing
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David "All Done With Kindness" Devant: His last days, described in "Hiding the Elephant." (End of Chapter 15, Keeping Secrets)


Quote:
In 1937 David Devant had become too helpless to live at home and was accepted in the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables at Putney in southwest London. Will Curtis followed him there as his personal nurse. Magician Francis White, working behind the scenes at The Magic Circle, had extracted a promise that the Circle would reinstate Davant after a respectful period of time. The club offered the Master an honorary lifetime membership in 1937, which he was proud to accept.

One day, when Horace Goldin was visiting Devant at Putney, Devant remarked that, being in the hospital, he no longer had a chance to see any magic. Goldin made secret arrangements to perform a show for the patients, surprising Devant and Curtis. The Magic Circle quickly formalized these shows, which were presented annually for Devant's birthday.

At one of the early Magic Circle shows, White performed a small trick in which a steel rod was apparently pushed through a square of glas. A reporter from the Sunday Expres took pictures of White performing the trick, and the next day the magician was surprised to find his photo in the paper next to an embarrassing headline, "The Trick That Baffled Devant." White knew that his trick could not have fooled Devant. It was a simple parlor amusement that used a secret from one of Devant's own illusions. He quickly contacted Curtis to insist that he wasn't responsible for the article and asked him to convey his apologies to the Master.

"Please don't worry about it," Curtis said. "I'll tell you a secret, if you promise not to betray it: It was Mr. Devant who gave the story to the reporter. You know, Francis, he's been grateful for all your help. He had nothing else to give you, except a bit of free publicity."

David Devant dies in 1941. For many years, The Magic Circle continued the annual magic shows at Putney in his memory.
Pop Haydn
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I have just delivered a lecture on this subject at the Magic Castle. The lecture notes are available here:

https://www.popsmagic.com/store/p114/Pop......tes.html
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