David Devant Gets The Boot

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 05/06/02 10:15 AM

It was news to me that David Devant was asked to resign from the Magic Circle in 1936. How could this be? For such a celebrated giant to be expelled from a magical society, the crime against magic must have been heinous.

And so it was. It turns out that David Devant is the guy who killed magic with those excerpts from "Secrets of My Magic" which appeared in Windsor Magazine. Remember that? Everybody lost interest in magic after that, and magic has never recovered.
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Postby Michael Edwards » 05/06/02 05:51 PM

Lisa:

Devant was indeed expelled from the Magic Circle for violating Rule 13. While Devant's exposures were generally explanations of his own illusions, he nonetheless violated a provision which he had vowed to respect...and for which the consequences were expulsion. [It should be noted, however, that he was subsequently made an honorary life member of the Circle.]

It should also be kept in mind that Devant -- the first President of the Magic Circle -- had run afould of its rules before. In December of 1908 The Royal Magazine published the first of eight installments of exposures by Devant. This led to his resignation from The Circle in April of 1910. [He rejoined later that year.]

Michael
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Postby Guest » 05/06/02 06:25 PM

Yeah, when you're on top you can do whatever and however you want to do it.

Kind of reminds me of the frog in the kettle.

I wonder at which degree magic is at today? 1000, 1200, 1500 degrees Fahrenheit? (Assuming 2000 degrees melts, implodes, and kills all things.)
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Postby Michael Edwards » 05/06/02 07:14 PM

Steve:

While I appreciate your sentiments, I'm not sure that you could say Devant was "on top" in 1935-6. Ill health forced Devant to retire from the stage some 15 years earlier. He was fifty-two at the time (1920) but already a very ill man, stooped of body with trembling hands. His condition deteriorated over the next several years. By June of 1937, he was no longer able to be cared for at home and moved into the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables at Putney. He died four years later.

Michael
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Postby Guest » 05/07/02 01:39 AM

Michael,

Thanks for the info. It sort-of rings a bell, but I was unaware. It's always sad to hear of others' hardships. I guess we should be glad of the quality work that was paved by Devant when he was able.

Thankyou again for your unshakeable knowledge of magic's rich history.

Steve
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 05/07/02 10:22 AM

Now, look at what just happened there. Human beings need compassion, like food. And it's free, like air. Yet we withhold our compassion when presented with greatness, and only let it flow when presented with pathetic pictures of suffering and strife. David Devant is at the top of his form? What a jerk, bending the rules like that. David Devant is sitting paralyzed in an asylum for incurables? WE LOVE YOU DAVID!

If we made compassion our "default setting," I'm sure we'd see more greatness and less incurables.
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