ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Guest » 03/08/03 09:32 AM

Hi John (and any other interested party):

My agreement with the publisher prohibits me from selling discounted copies to dealers (although they may buy as many as they want for retail <g>) or from offering discounts to anyone. Sorry.

We accept any type of payment (except shells) including major credit cards & PayPal, which can be sent to my e-mail addy below.

The price again is $52 + $5 P&H for domestic orders. For multiple copies & international orders, please contact me privately. In fact, I think it would be respectiful to this topic discussion if any commercial inquiries be directed to me privately at my contact info below. You can find out more info on the book at our site or on the Genii Collector's Forum.

Best,
Michael

****************************************
*
* Michael Canick Booksellers, L.L.C.
* 200 East 82nd Street, #3B
* New York, NY 10028
* Phone: (212) 585-2990
* Fax: (212) 585-2986
* E-Mail: canick@panix.com
* Website: http://www.canick.com
* By Appointment.
* Specializing in Rare, Used & New Magic.
* Book Search Service & Appraisals in All Fields.
* Catalogs Issued.
*****************************************
Guest
 

Postby NCMarsh » 03/08/03 02:57 PM

I'd like to first talk a bit about the question of the extent to which Erdnase was genuinely interested in magic, then the question of using computers to pinpoint authorship....

some comments on Erdnase:

Magician v. Gambler:
Some Observations:

  • Erdnase cares about how magicians perform. He has thought, carefully, about how magic should be performed and passionately exhorts the learner to adopt certain practices.
  • The sleights in his "Legerdemain" section are just as carefully and thoughtfully conceived as those designed primarily for the card table.
  • He is familiar with the practices and methods of contemporary conjurers.
  • The Exclusive Coterie is an highly entertaining presentation for an assembly. When delivered by someone who interprets the words well, it is an extremely entertaining piece for contemporary audiences (as Ricky Jay very convincingly proved in his first off-broadway show). I have seen very many magicians (including myself at one time) who have put little thought into the presentation of an assembly; Erdnase presents a polished and interesting script carefully coordinated to the performer's actions.
If he were merely tacking on a section on conjuring to increase the sales of his work, why put more thought into the content than many conjurers would? Why spend the time developing and finessing such powerful, groundbreaking sleights when they are utterly useless to one who's exclusive interest is in card artifice at the gaming table?
Was Erdnase a Magician? I think that Erdnase was, primarily, a lover of artistic card handling. I believe that he began as a gambler, but that a love for his tools outpaced in him the love of wager; he began to thouroughly explore the manipulation of playing cards...and this led him to experiment with the sleights and methods of conjurers and, perhaps, to begin to perform himself.

I think Erdnase was a sort of inverse Dai Vernon. Vernon was a magician whose love of deceptive and artistic card handling led him to explore and think about the methods of gamblers. Erdnase, to my mind, was a gambler whose love of deceptive and artistic card handling led him to explore and think about the methods of magicians... What think the experts?

some comments about attempts to quantify style:

The use of computer software to determine authorship seems highly suspect to me. Any such software depends upon postulates that are neither self-evident nor demonstrable, namely that:
  • published works by the same author, in the same period, will always feature the same characteristics
  • multiple authors will not have the same stylistic profile.
if the second postulate is false, and we can't prove it's not, then a mere stylistic match proves nothing. In a case like that of Primary Colors further verification is possible because the writer is a contemporary. With Erdnase, because no one is alive to admit authorship and the evidence of the act of writing the work are largely buried by time, we are dealing with a much more difficult proposition. In order to verify the results of any philological analysis we would need some new evidence external to the text; of course if we had such new evidence, then philological work would be moot...either way we see that without some new evidence external to the text itself, we will never be able to definitively assert that any candidate was Erdnase...we are engaging in an endeavor that will probably always remain speculative -- and I, for one, really love mystery...
best,

nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1184
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Guest » 03/09/03 11:33 PM

I remember Jon Racherbaumer writing something, somewhere (Magic Magazine?) about an annotated Erdnase by Marlo. He was emphatic about saying that the book DID NOT exist. Would have been nice though. And BIG. Anyway, who among us today, would be qualified for the job of a third annotated Erdnase? Is there any such project in the works?
Another thing...Erdnase is a great book, and Vernon was a great magician. The book, all by itself is indeed wonderful. But for Vernon, it really spoke to him. He worked at getting it, and he just GOT it. We all have books that speak to us, better than others. For me, CLOSE-UP CARD MAGIC, is one such. Perhaps if any of us took the time to be as THOROUGH with our "speaking volumes" (Sorry David!), as Vernon was with his, we'd each have a better understanding of magic, as we see it, as what it is to us individually. Yeah, I know: as it happened Vernon "got" a really good one! Does this makes sense? Or is it a non point? I had good intentions when I started!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 03/10/03 06:22 PM

Actually, the book was "Revelations". It was given to Marlo,he wrote comments in the book, then the book was given to Vernon,where he too wrote comments. The person who was suppose to have the book passed away many years ago. The search for the holy grail continues..............
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/10/03 07:34 PM

Here's the story: a guy by the name of Chuck (think his last name was Stanfield--a nice guy) worked at Magic Inc. and had a huge collection of signed first editions. He bought a copy of "Revelations" when it was published and gave it to Marlo so he could write some comments in it, based upon Vernon's annotations. Marlo did this, belittling Vernon's additions. Chuck then gave the book to Vernon to sign, and to get his reaction to Marlo's jealous scribblings. Vernon wrote, "Ed, keep striving," or something along those lines.
Chuck died of AIDS years ago and Jay Marshall inherited his library. So, Jay Marshall now has the book.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 21941
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/10/03 09:20 PM

Originally posted by John Blaze:
Anyway, who among us today, would be qualified for the job of a third annotated Erdnase?
Off the top of my head I can think of four men who are eminently qualified. However, another quality these men share in common is that they would never, ever, consider it.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 6330
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Max Maven » 03/10/03 09:33 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Here's the story: a guy by the name of Chuck (think his last name was Stanfield--a nice guy) worked at Magic Inc. and had a huge collection of signed first editions. He bought a copy of "Revelations" when it was published and gave it to Marlo so he could write some comments in it, based upon Vernon's annotations. Marlo did this, belittling Vernon's additions. Chuck then gave the book to Vernon to sign, and to get his reaction to Marlo's jealous scribblings. Vernon wrote, "Ed, keep striving," or something along those lines.
Chuck died of AIDS years ago and Jay Marshall inherited his library. So, Jay Marshall now has the book.
Chuck's last name was indeed Stanfield.

Vernon wrote addenda to several of Marlo's comments. I believe the punchline was closer to, "Ed, keep up the good work."

The Standfield collection was sold, most of it piecemeal, so the owner of that double-annotated copy of Revelations is not necessarily Jay.
Max Maven
 
Posts: 384
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood, CA

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 03/11/03 12:31 AM

I have a COPY of the Marlo comments re REVELATIONS, comments which were not really annotations but short, negative remarks more accurately resembling snide marginalia.

REVELATIONS of course is better than the knee-jerk demeaning reactions that circulated when the book appeared. They more accurately reflected an almost unanimous disappointment of the book they imagined rather than sage or informed appraisals of the book that actually exists. This often happens when expectations are too unrealistically high in the first place.

I DO have a scattered collection of Marlo's true annotations, which would now make an interesting and very personal book. Right now it is not in book form, though.

EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE, to me, is a curious book and the current interest in this work and its mysterious author or authors is even more curious. I also find it interesting that nobody talks about McDougal's "take" or his Erdnasian book anymore?

Comments?
Jon Racherbaumer
 
Posts: 831
Joined: 01/22/08 01:00 PM
Location: New Orleans

Postby El Mystico » 03/11/03 12:17 PM

Wonderful thread!
One point not touched on is Erdnase as teacher. Certainly the whole book demonstrates his ability in this area - but specifically in describing the Three Card Stock within Card Table Artifice, he says "Certain players whom we have instructed, can execute the stock with the greatest facility". And the three card stock has far more purpose for gambling than for magic. Whereas I can see no equivalent indication of teaching in the legerdemain section. So - he gave lessons in gambling technique, it would seem.
Does this lend weight to the argument he was a gambler? In the introduction to the artifice section, he says "some techniques will remain private property as long as the originators are so disposed" - highlighting that some gamblers were sharing their private techniques with him. Yet in the introduction to the Legerdemain section, he says "...as far as we can learn from the exhibitions and literature of conjurers, not one of them knows of" (a substitute for the pass), suggesting, if, he is reliant on literature, he is not so well aquainted with magicians - but then,later, when talking about the diagonal palm shift, he does refer to a move as being "well known to most conjurers" - which could indicate a familiarity with our breed...
El Mystico
 
Posts: 914
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Leamington Spa

Postby Dave Egleston » 03/14/03 09:31 PM

To all contributers:

Thank you very much - This thread is conclusive proof - Best magic board on the net

Dave

(By the way Mr Alexander, I checked out your wife's drawings - She draws real good!!)
Dave Egleston
 
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Postby John Bodine » 03/19/03 01:05 PM

Regarding the illustrations, isn't it probably that Erdnase had already penned the majority if not entire contents of hte book and was seeking illustrations to clarify or strengthen certain points? If you agree that this was the case, isn't it possible that the description of a sleight or move could have been given to Smith for reference while he was illustrating. Alternatively, Smith could have done quick sketches and later inked them in. Upon receiving the final illustrations Erdnase accepted the work but then while laying up the art noticed that the illustrations did not exactly match the accompanying text. It wouldn't have been too difficult for him to trace an existing image with only minor adjustments.

This might explain why some of the images don't seem quite right while others are very perfect. It may also provide some clue as to why some images contain copyright statements while others do not.

Fantastic thread - thank you all.

John Bodine

P.S. Richard, I know I still owe you some pictures of potential residences for Edwin Sumner. I'll put the activity a bit higher on my list.
John Bodine
 
Posts: 113
Joined: 07/23/08 03:50 PM

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/20/03 08:00 AM

Originally posted by John Bodine:
P.S. Richard, I know I still owe you some pictures of potential residences for Edwin Sumner. I'll put the activity a bit higher on my list.
Thanks, John. Looking forward to it. With luck this may allow us to get a better grip on E. S. Andrews' height, should the one known photograph show him in front of a residence that still exists. It's a longshot, but you never know. (Clearly he is "short" relative to the rest of his family in the photo, including his two adolescent children...)

Is anyone interested in a post about Martin Gardner's pursuit of "James Andrews"? His correspondence with the Library of Congress on this topic in early 1947 has at least one surprising "revelation"...
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Frank Yuen » 03/20/03 09:54 AM

Yes, please post it. This thread has probably been the one that I've enjoyed the most.

Frank Yuen
Frank Yuen
 
Posts: 555
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Winfield, IL

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/20/03 11:53 AM

I'll try to dig out Gardner's correspondence later today and post this, rather than work from memory and get things wrong...
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/25/03 02:11 PM

On December 10, 1946, Martin Gardner in Chicago wrote letters to Marshall D. Smith, Richard W. Hood (son of and successor to Edwin C. Hood, founder of H. C. Evans & Company, the Chicago based gambling supplier since 1892) and the Canadian Copyright office, asking all of them specific questions about S. W. Erdnase and his book. All responded promptly and only the Canadian copyright office yielded no information, other than the fact that they could find no record of copyright there. Smith responded just two days later and in his reply letter he wrote: I did the drawings for Mr. Erdnase whose name I had forgotten. When Gardner met Smith the very next day, Gardners notes tell us: Before I [Gardner] mentioned Andrews as the name, he said that Erdnase didnt sound right, and he recalled it as a name with a W. When I said Andrews his face lighted up and he was sure that was it. Does not recall first name or initials. I think it worth noting that Smith did not independently recall the name as Andrews, though he strongly supported Gardners suggestion. Gardners interview with Smith and his subsequent correspondence yielded quite a bit of specific information regarding the books author, including a detailed physical description and the fact that he was somehow related to Louis Dalrymple, the famous political cartoonist of the period. He also recalled that he made pencil sketches of the authors hands, then took them home to ink them in after the author had OKd each sketch. He thought the job took him about two weeks, though he had specific memories of only their initial meeting
Just a month later, on July 16th, 1947, Gardner wrote the Librarian of Congress for the first time about the book. In that letter he says: The authors real name was James Andrews. He obtained the pseudonym of S. W. Erdnase by spelling his real name backwards, including the last two letters of James.
In his reply some two months later (March 17th, 1947), Robert C. Gooch, Chief of the General Reference and Bibliography Division, after supplying the bibliographic information Gardner requested, writes: We are very interested to note that you have discovered evidence that this authors real name is James Andrews. Our Processing Department would be pleased to learn in what source this information may be found, in order to complete its records. In his detailed response of March 20, 1947, Gardner writes: Regarding the authors real name: In my research on Erdnase I located M. D. Smith, the artist who did the illustrations. He lives in Chicago, a hale and hearty man of about 80 [in fact, he 74 at the time -rh]. He remembered Erdnases real name (I.e. James Andrews). With this as a lead, I found a magazine article by James Andrews in Harpers Weekly, June 26, 1909, titled Confessions of a Fakir, which contains intrinsic material that establishes it beyond doubt as by the same author as the book on gambling methods. This article was reprinted in Conjurers Magazine in August 1949. Just two months later, in October 1949, Gardner found articles from 1905 detailing the lurid life and death of card cheat Milton Franklin Andrews, who had been described to him as Erdnase (without revealing his name) by Philadelphia magician, E. L. Pratt. Within a short period of time, Gardner abandoned the James Andrews theory in favor of Milton Franklin Andrews.
What surprised me in Gardners correspondence was the claim that he was led to the James Andrews theory by Marshall Smiths recollection. He met Smith in December 1946 and makes this claim in March 1947, though mentions the James Andrews name just one month after meeting Smith. He made no mention of James Andrews in his article THE MYSTERY OF ERDNASE published in the SAM Convention program in May 1947. James Andrews is mentioned in Vincent Starretts weekly Books Alive column in the Chicago Sunday Tribune of June 15th, 1947: For nearly half a century the identity of Erdnase remained a mystery; then the ingenious Mr. Gardner read the name backwards and produced E. S. Andrews. But who was E. S. Andrews? A later discovery by Mr. Gardner revealed him as James Andrews; the initials obtained by spelling the name in reverse were the last two letters of James. This final revelation came too late for inclusion in Mr. Gardners article, The Mystery of Erdnase, and were revealed to me in a letter supplementing the printed revelation The same article mentions Smith, but without crediting him with this revelation. It does credit Smith with the Louis Dalrymple clue, noting that Dalrymple was then [1902] a cartoonist and comic artist for the Chicago Tribune. (Incidentally, Smith acknowledged receiving a copy of the Tribune article from Gardner in his letter of June 24, 1947).
Alas, Gardners own recollection of this episode is now pretty dim (he is more than a decade older than Smith was back then and it was 55 years ago!). He now thinks it likely that he first found the article in Harpers Weekly, then asked Smith about the name James Andrews and got some kind of encouragement, though this is, of course, not what Gardner wrote to the Library of Congress at the time. And why did he omit the reference to James in the SAM Program? Surely not, as the Tribune article states, because he obtained it too late for inclusion. He had the information in January, the convention wasnt till May
Some of you may recall that I was once enthusiastic about a James Andrews candidate myself, specifically, James DeWitt Andrews, a Chicago attorney and writer of legal treatises. I remain interested in James DeWitt Andrews, but in trying to link him to Dalrymple, I stumbled across Edwin Sumner Andrews, whom I consider a more likely fit on circumstantial grounds. The most intriguing response to the MAGIC article (December 1999) I wrote on this topic (which included considerable information on James DeWitt Andrews) came from reader Michael DeMarco. He found the circumstantial case I made for JDA sufficiently compelling to search the first edition title page (which seems to be the Rosetta stone of this mystery) for the other missing letters of his name. Sure enough, there they are: the first letters of each line of the inverted pyramid subtitle are JAM DEWTT, missing only the letter I (no, they are not in that order!).
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/25/03 04:32 PM

If, as Dick suggests, the first edition title page is the Rosetta stone of this mystery, can someone post a link to a scan of this page?
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2115
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/25/03 10:47 PM

Michael Canick includes an image of the first edition titlepage in his write up of his facsimile edition:
http://www.canick.com/erdnase.html
The second line of the title:

"Ruse And Subterfuge"

has been the source of much speculation. Steve Burton, Thomas Sawyer and more recently David Alexander have all considered it significant that reversing the first two words yields "And Ruse" = Andrews. Sawyer (and possibly Burton) pointed out that the first and last letters of "Subterfuge", when also reversed yield "E. S."
David Alexander's reading of the titlepage "clues" is given in his excellent cover story feature in the January 2000 GENII.
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Nathan » 03/25/03 11:48 PM

Since I have access to a University library, I couldn't resist the temptation to look up the article by James Andrews in Harper's Weekly.

There are some interesting circumstantial similarities between Erdnase and James Andrews. They both seem to be interested in making money and they both have little sympathy for the victims. Also they both wrote literature exposing the detailed workings of their artifice. There is also a brief mention of card sharps in James Andrew's article which is either an indication of his lack of knowledge of card cheating or as a tease to all those card workers who might have tried to find Erdnase.

Somehow I doubt the card expert ended up as a fakir on Coney Island, but one thing is sort of intriguing. James Andrews claims to have made between $150 and $200 per night telling fortunes. I'm not sure what Erdnase would have been able to make in a card game in one night in those days, but I wonder if it might have been comparable money. It certainly involves significantly less risk. Might Erdnase have lost his nerve and turned towards a safer and equally profitable profession?
Nathan
 
Posts: 29
Joined: 10/14/08 08:23 PM

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/26/03 07:55 AM

Nathan, thanks for looking this up! Is the original a single oversized page? I assume Harper's does not include an "about the authors" page! In the CONJURORS' MAGAZINE reprint (August 1949), it is a single page, spread sideways across two of the magazine's 8.5x11 pages. Gardner's one page introductory piece accompanying the reprint points out that the James Andrews in the article described himself as a "blonde, blue-eyed, thin nervous American" which agreed with Marshall Smith's description. James Andrews also says "the spur of poverty drove me into prophecy" which agrees with Erdnase's "need for money" motivation for publishing THE EXPERT. Gardner says the writing style of the James Andrews story is "somewhat different" from THE EXPERT, but points out that this could be explained by the different audience being addressed or the possibility that THE EXPERT was ghostwritten. He does note the mention of the cardsharp and that both use the terms "patter" and "chicanery", and the device of a question mark in parenthesis. Gardner found a James J. Andrews listed as a clairvoyant in the 1909 New York directory, but no way of determining whether he was the author of the Harper's story. I would add that we don't know if the Harper's story was written as fact or fiction, or whether its author's true name is James Andrews. I personally don't think the story sounds anything like Erdnase.
Gardner also says in his introductory remarks that, while Marshall Smith "confirmed" that Erdnase's real name was Andrews, "Smith does not, however, recall Andrews' real name." This, of course, directly contradicts what he wrote to the Library of Congress just four months after meeting Smith.
If Smith did indeed independently recall the author's first name as "James", I would consider that extremely significant. Gardner would then have recognized that it explained the "E. S." and begun his search, leading to the Harper's article as claimed in the letter to the Library of Congress. But other than that letter, there is no suggestion that Smith did so. If Gardner was simply led to look for a James because the name ends in "ES", then one should also look for candidates named Charles, Wes, Les, Soames, Ames, etc. The same logic could extend the search to middle names ending in those letters, leading to an impossibly large field of candidates.
Based on the US population of the time, the artist's description, the frequency of the last name Andrews, the popularity of male first names beginning with E (these statistics can be found online associated with the 1900 census) and an assumption regarding the frequency of middle names beginning with S, I at one time estimated there were no more than 24 white adult males named E. S. Andrews at the time of the book's publication. I have found a half dozen of them by searching census records. That one of them is the age and size (approximate) remembered by the author, possibly related to Dalrymple (which is how I found him), moved to Chicago late in 1901, left in February 1903 and was living just 9 blocks south of Atlas Novelty Co. which began distributing first edition copies at half price in February 1903 strikes me as rather remarkable if it is just a coincidence (as it may, indeed, be).
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/26/03 10:12 PM

If anyone wants a piece of original artwork by Erdnase's "relative" Louis Dalrymple, there is currently a drawing of his from Puck on ebay at the following link:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 70138&rd=1
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Guest » 03/27/03 03:18 PM

For you hunters the 1880 US Census, which was, I believe, the first showing names, jobs, family members, etc. is on line. The British census from around the same time is also on line.
Steve V
Guest
 

Postby Nathan » 03/27/03 11:02 PM

Richard,
To answer your question, the Harper's Weekly that I looked at was an enormous poster size. It is being stored in the library's special collections so I had to have a librarian go back and pull it up for me. She was quite out breath when she lugged the bound 1909 volume back with her! I felt a little guilty when she then showed me how I could just pull it up online.
Nathan
 
Posts: 29
Joined: 10/14/08 08:23 PM

Postby Todd Karr » 03/29/03 06:39 PM

Richard Hatch was kind enough to send a copy of the Harper's article to me and so far I see no significant similarity of style or usage that would indicate that Erdnase wrote it. As Gardner noted, though, this could simply mean that his article was heavily edited by the Harper's editors.
Todd Karr
 
Posts: 280
Joined: 03/13/08 09:03 AM

Postby Richard Hatch » 04/10/03 11:25 PM

I was searching the web for uses of the expression "mealymouthed pretensions" and only came up with two matches, both Erdnase's preface. But one of them is on a site that describes itself as "a collection of primary texts of american anti-authoritarianism" and includes links to quotes by Mencken, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, Abby Hoffman, Tecumsah, etc. I was surprised to see Erdnase in their company!
Here's the site:
http://www.crispinsartwell.com/americanliberties.htm
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1675
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/10/03 11:49 PM

That is a fascinating view of Erdnase's words. Obviously he was not a fan of those behind the reform movement of the late 19th & early 20th centuries (whose design, for those of you out there not familiar with the movement, was to rid cities of the evils of gambling and the other vices normally associated with it) but to call that single sentence a "primary text" of anti-authoritarianism is quite a stretch indeed.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 6330
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Guest » 04/13/03 06:22 PM

Wow, to be mentioned in the same sentence as any of the abovementioned social activists would be quite an honor for most people. Abby Hoffman was one of my heros during the early 70's, and tecumseh makes one heck of an engine (just kidding about that last one)
Guest
 

Postby Nathan » 04/22/03 12:01 AM

At the risk of polluting this thread with another "crazy theory", I want to suggest the following research tactic that to my knowledge has not yet been attempted. Regardless of how insane you think my idea is, the saving grace is the fact that it is completely testable by someone who has access to the appropriate resources (which I unfortunately do not).

Suppose for a moment that Erdnase's motive for disguising his identity was because he wanted to pull off the greatest trick in magic/gambling publishing history, but he wanted to eventually be discovered. Perhaps this is why he revealed the illustrator's real name. Maybe there is another clue that leads to additional information. Another really cryptic thing in the book is the copyright "Entered at Stationer's Hall, London..." According to what I've read in "Annotated Erdnase", the book was never copyrighted there so it seems strange to cite this copyright since the book actually was copyrighted in the US.

Perhaps, and I know this is pretty crazy, Erdnase wrote some autobiographical material and copyrighted it in England but never published it with the hopes that it would be discovered after "The Expert at the Card Table" reached its present day mysterious status. Thus, the thing to search for in Stationer's Hall is a book that was copyrighted in 1902 but never actually published. The US copyright office apparently received a couple of copies of Expert (at least according to what I've read in Annotated Erdnase), so presumably the office in London would have received a preprint of whatever informational book Erdnase might have submitted. Clearly Erdnase would not copyright such autobiographical material under the name S.W. Erdnase because he wouldn't want someone to accidentally stumble on it without solving the copyright page puzzle (if such a puzzle exists).
Nathan
 
Posts: 29
Joined: 10/14/08 08:23 PM

Postby Temperance » 04/30/03 04:00 PM

Originally posted by R P Wilson:

That said, I would like to point out that almost no one I have seen has performed the shift correctly - as described in the book. Everyone (including Steve Freeman on the Vernon tapes) has made some sort of adjustment and almost everyone STARTS IN THE WRONG POSITION.
This is true, however as so much of the explanations in Erdnase have errors and a lot of the descriptions are somewhat ambiguous, who is to say that the method given for the S.W.E shift is actually correct?

Just a thought.

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Leonard Hevia » 05/11/03 09:03 PM

This is a wonderful thread worthy of repeated study. I just received my copy of Expert at the Card Tablefrom Michael Canick and will compare the information from these postings with my facsimile copy.

I believe only a serious historian of this text can answer Lance's question. I'm currently wondering if Mike Caveney will republish Vernon's Revelations. Since Mr. Caveney is reviving out of print books from his catalog--and since this year is the 100th anniversary of this wonderful text-well-it's just a thought. :)
Leonard Hevia
 
Posts: 1019
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Postby Guest » 05/12/03 01:39 PM

Uh Oh, it looks like Erdnase is catching up with the five page three fly thread!
Guest
 

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/12/03 03:39 PM

I would like to correct Euan's above post. There are VERY FEW errors or ommissions in the Erdnase text. It is my experience that everything is both well described and VERY WELL thought out.

While the descriptions are "economic" they include everything needed by the serious student to learn the moves.

As Dai Vernon wrote in his introduction to Revelations:

"Erdnase is at once logical and practical. Surely no one, before or since, has written so lucidly on the subject of card table artifice."

As someone once observed, students of Erdnase usually blame their difficulties on the text, rather than their inability to understand it.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Temperance » 05/12/03 04:04 PM

Very few? Hrmm.

The slip cut is wrong, completely. Interestingly the same wrong technique is described in more card manipulations. Actually it's just the image in more card manipulations but it's still wrong.

There are several errors in the bottom deal description in that he changes which finger are meant to be doing the push out several times.

The over hand shuffle cull descriptions are ambiguous as to which cards are meant to be jogged.

The open shift is less than clear.

The first method for top palming is clearly wrong. Does anyone do this move with the left pinky in the position described in the text? ( ie against the middle of the inner short edge ).

That's just off the top of my head.

However I still think it's a brilliant book and well worth studying. In fact next to Roy Walton, Alex Elmsley and Bob Hummers works it's my favourite book.

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/12/03 05:17 PM

Euan,
I'm trying not to slam you here but what follows may read that way. I figure it's best to just say it and be done. Just my opinion on a subject close to my heart.

To begin with, you are correct about the bottom deal - partly. There is ONE error which mentions the second finger pushing out the bottom card instead of the third. Vernon mentions another paragraph earlier in the description which states that the second finger and thumb "do the work". Vernon believed that Erdnase meant to say "third finger and thumb", assuming he referred to the dealing action. The sentence immediately before this one, however, talks about the little finger and it's part in HOLDING the deck. I believe that he goes on to say that the second finger and thumb do all the work with regards to supporting the pack, NOT the dealing action. This is moot but either way it does not detract from the excellent description of the sleight. Hardly "several" errors as you suggest.

The Open Shift is VERY clear. You simply haven't read it clearly. To quote Vernon again:"This is an exceedingly difficult pass but its acquisition can be greatly facilitated by following Erdnase's EXACT instructions". I learned it from the book. It wasn't easy but the work is all there.

I have no problem with the overhand shuffle culls. They're complex but correct. Better methods have since appeared but I learned all of these for completeness. Never, ever, used them.

Erdnase's Top Palm (version one) is a perfect sleight. It is rarely used and has been varied to death but the original is still extremely well described and thought out. Mechanically, it's brilliant. Just because people don't do it, doesn't make it any less perfect.

The Slip Cut is completely CORRECT. The illustration exaggerates the middle part of the sleight but, in doing so, correctly conveys the action. Carrying the lower half forward under the top card is a DIFFERENT tabled slip cut. I have used the Erdnase cut for many years with no difficulty. In Revelations, Vernon mentions a complete blind that is worth looking up (also correctly described). He also discusses the now standard version of the tabled slip-cut (where the lower packet is carried forward).

Euan, you need to understand that, when I first started visiting Roy Walton in his shop (almost twenty years ago) , I took his advice and bought a paperback of Erdnase, had it trimmed to the edge of the text and have carried it in my pocket ever since. I have lived with this book, studied it, loved it, hated it and devoured it.

I still dont understand it like Roy Walton does. Or Gordon Bruce. Or Bruce Cervon. Or Howie Schwarzman (who I could spend hours discussing the book with). But I keep reading and keep getting rewarded.

Thinking the text is wrong simply because it is either alien (like the top palm) or difficult (like the open shift) suggests you need to reconsider whether it is really a favourite book after all.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Temperance » 05/12/03 05:41 PM

Hi Paul

Your post didn't come across as slamming me, just so's you know.

You really think the slip cut is correct? In the text you are told to hold the deck off the table by the ends. Slip the top card to the left as your right hand takes the top half to the right then drop the left portion on the table followed by the right. At least in the Dover reprint, perhaps it is different in the original text?

I've never seen anyone handle a slip cut this way.

Usually you have the deck on the table the bottom half is moved forward onto which the top card is slipped using the right index finger (if you're right handed). then the right hand comes back and picks up the remaining half and slaps it on top of the other half.

Or am I missing something?

I'm not trying to attack you or Erdnase here I'm just trying to point out that as there are some errors in the text. There is a distinct possibility that the description of the SWE shift is perhaps incorrect.

--Euan

PS Vernon also said that you shouldn't treat sleight descriptions as biblical but that you should try to understand what is going on and then adapt the technique so that it fits how you handle cards (all hand sizes are different etc). I'm paraphrasing but you get the idea.
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/12/03 07:15 PM

Euan,
the slip cut is a different action - follow the text and perform it with a distinct slapping action. straight to the table, no forward action.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Matthew Field » 05/13/03 04:37 AM

Originally posted by R P Wilson:
when I first started visiting Roy Walton in his shop (almost twenty years ago) , I took his advice and bought a paperback of Erdnase, had it trimmed to the edge of the text and have carried it in my pocket ever since. I have lived with this book, studied it, loved it, hated it and devoured it.
This thread is wonderful, and the small quote above from Paul Wilson is well worthy of any serious student's consideration.

Along with Michael Canick's new facsimile of Erdnase, and among other versions of the book in my library, I have two copies of the inexpensive Dover paperback edition. One looks nice and neat. The other looks like it's been in the washing machine.

That's the copy I fold in half and stuff in the back pocket of my jeans when I'm going somewhere like a beach outing. While I find it difficult to actually work with a deck of cards on the beach, reading Erdnase is something I very much enjoy.

So reading that Roy Walton had suggested something like this to Paul, who took it to heart, resonated within me, and I post this to stir some students out there to do likewise.

Thanks, Paul.

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2618
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby CHRIS » 05/13/03 08:06 AM

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
That's the copy I fold in half and stuff in the back pocket of my jeans when I'm going somewhere like a beach outing.
Another idea is to get the electronic version and print it out in small fonts. With a little tool like ClickBook one can even print out a small booklet (4 or 8 pages per sheet). And when it's torn up, just print out another one. Or print chapters separately. Then it might fit in your breast pocket.

I don't need to tell you where to get the electronic version ;)

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Dave Egleston » 05/13/03 03:19 PM

Except you can't read it on the beach!!!!!!! Too much glare!!

Dave
Dave Egleston
 
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Postby CHRIS » 05/13/03 03:46 PM

Originally posted by Dave Egleston:
Except you can't read it on the beach!!!!!!! Too much glare!!
Dave, I wrote 'print out'. When you print the ebook there is no glare. ;)

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Temperance » 05/14/03 07:26 PM

Originally posted by R P Wilson:
Euan,
the slip cut is a different action - follow the text and perform it with a distinct slapping action. straight to the table, no forward action.
Yes it's bad technique though. You do that in a game and you're liable to get your kneecaps blown off.

Re the open shift. Can anyone actually do this? There doesn't seem to be any conceivable angle from which it can be viewed to make it even remotely deceptive.

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

PreviousNext

Return to General