- Hardcover: 670 pages
- Publisher: TASCHEN America Llc; Not Indicated edition (November 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3836509776
- ISBN-13: 978-3836509770
- Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 3 x 20 inches
- Shipping Weight: 16.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 93 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Magic 1400s-1950s Hardcover – November 1, 2009
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About the Author
About the editor:
TASCHEN editor Noel Daniel graduated from Princeton University, and studied in Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship. She received a master s in London and was the director of a photography art gallery before becoming a book editor. Her TASCHEN books include Magic 1400s 1950s (2009) and The Circus 1870 1950 (2008).
About the authors:
Mike Caveney is a writer, collector, professional magician, and the publisher of over 50 books on the theory, practice, and history of magic. His biographical works include Kellar s Wonders (2003) with Bill Miesel, and Carter the Great (1995). An avid collector and performer for over four decades, he has appeared onstage or on TV in more than 20 countries.
Jim Steinmeyer is the author of many books on magic history and practice, including Los Angeles Times bestseller Hiding the Elephant (2004) and The Glorious Deception (2006). He has created deceptions featured by magicians such as Doug Henning, David Copperfield, and Siegfried and Roy, and critically acclaimed illusions for Broadway hits Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, and Into the Woods.
About the contributing author:
Ricky Jay is one of the world's great sleight of hand artists, and a distinguished actor, historian, and best-selling author. His Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women and Jay s Journal of Anomalies were both New York Times "Notable Books of the Year," and he defined the terms of his art for The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre and Encyclopedia Britannica.
Top customer reviews
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Just to clarify some of the differences between this and the earlier book:
1. The original book had 650 pages, this edition has 544.
2. This book is also in 3 languages (English, French and German).
It still weighs around 14lbs. and is a large format art book. (Page height is nearly 15.5 inches). It's gorgeous, fairly heavy, and I'm happy to have it! Honestly, if I hadn't read about the earlier version of the book I would never guess this was "scaled down". It's still a very impressive book!
UPDATE: Re the differences between this and the larger edition, the following is from the editor of the book, Noel Daniel:
"The smaller version is meant to offer readers the chance to discover the wonderful world of magic for a great price. To be able to offer a smaller version of the first edition (the larger book) at a trade price, we did need to reduce its physical size, which meant also reducing its page count and therefore the image count. Even though the smaller version is reduced by ca. 150 images of the original 900, it is still a fantastic, illustrated overview of 500 years of magic. This material has never been brought together in this manner before, and much of it has never been published. I spent many, many months personally visiting archives and incredible private collections to select these images from the original 30,000 that I gathered. Both the large and smaller versions are important publishing events in the history of magic.
In terms of the images that I cut from the original larger size, of course, it was very hard, as all of the images mean a great deal to me. However, I tried to retain critical images that I felt readers would like to see, while cutting images that perhaps were repeated in some aspect or contained information that could be found in other images."
Although the book traces stage magic back to its medieval origins among traveling jugglers and purveyors of the cups-and-ball trick, it focuses on the entertainment’s heyday, the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The text, in English, French, and German, provides an interesting history, detailing the different performance venues, types of tricks, and individual magicians who were popular at different times. I think the book’s greatest draw, though, is the endless array of posters used to advertise the acts, all displayed in full color and many at full page size or even two pages (quite a spread, given the size of the book), and each extensively captioned in the same three languages. The best of these lithographed posters, some of them nine feet tall, are real works of art, full of floating ladies, grinning skeletons, and dancing devils… not to mention the dapper, tuxedoed magicians themselves. There are also a fair number of black-and-white photos of the magicians performing.
In fairness, if you are not fascinated by stage magic, the book’s awkward size and tendency to repetition (not surprisingly, many of the posters are very similar to one another) may make it less than appealing. For anyone who does want to see the many skillful ways in which people can be fooled—and made to love every minute of it—though, I heartily recommend it.
Each chapter has a brief essay (which appears in English, German, and French), but the star of this book is the spectacular treasure trove of graphics (with captions also in all three languages). Chapter 7 has only about three paragraphs of text on Houdini, but over 20 pages of outstanding Houdini photos and posters advertising his performances.
There are many rare photos and beautifully reproduced lithographs throughout. This gem of a book is a fabulous tribute to the fantastic world of magic and magicians, and a real visual treat.
Most recent customer reviews
I keep picking it up and picking it up.