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2020-11-05 13:33:03
HOUDIN, ROBERT:
Les Secrets De La Prestidigitation Et De La Magie. Comment on Devient Sorcier. Nombreuses Gravures. (Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, How to Become a Sorcerer.)
Paris, Michel Levy Freres, 1868 1st Hardback, approx 9 x 5.5 inches. Half bound in brown morocco leather to spine and marbled paper boards. Raised banding and gilt lettering to spine. Marbled endpapers. In very good condition. Boards clean and smart but unfortunate chip to top corner of front board. Endpapers clean, no penned inscriptions. Some areas of minor light foxing to a couple of pages else overall pages very clean, bright and tight throughout. Else an excellent copy of a very scarce book. 412pp + 10pp Contents. Illustrated with a B&W frontis plate, and 67 B&W text figures. American magician and escape artist Harry Houdini (born Ehrich Weiss) was so impressed by Robert-Houdin that, after reading his autobiography in 1890, Ehrich adopted the stage name of "Houdini" in honour of Robert-Houdin. He incorrectly believed that an ‘i’ on the end of a name meant "like" in French; but Houdini, his own career and reputation established by that time, later lost his youthful respect for Robert-Houdin, believing that he took undue credit for other magicians' innovations, and wrote The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin in 1908. Robert-Houdin is often credited as being "the father of modern magic". Before him, magicians performed in marketplaces and fairs, for the lower classes, but Robert-Houdin performed magic in theatres and private parties for wealthier patrons. He also chose to wear formal clothes, like those of his more upscale audiences, which has become a tradition for many modern magicians who wear tail-coats.
Bookseller: The Antique Map & Bookshop [United Kingdom]

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