Conjurer Dick

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

Postby El Mystico » 10/23/11 01:31 PM

I see there is a relatively cheap reprint of Angelo John Lewis' (Hoffmann's) Conjurer Dick available on Amazon. Published in 1885, after Modern Magic, is is a novel about a boy who becomes a magician. It is a sub-Dickensian story, but has a 'Ripping Yarns' quality which is endearing; it has descriptions of a Victorian era act; but, for me, best of all, it has a description of Charlier's performance, as Professor Ledoyen. It also has lots of exposure, which no doubt annoyed the hell out of magicians back then!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/25/11 02:11 AM

"Conjurer Dick" is in Google Books, so it is probably a print-on-demand version of that.

Simpler just to download the PDF.
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 10/26/11 01:09 PM

Anybody familiar with the Victorian love of the cheap-weep will understand immediately that the angelic little girl in the story is doomed, but the cause of her death has to be unique in all of literature: it's death by CODE ACT!

This super-sweet little child assists her father in his mind-reading entertainment, and when the inevitable time comes for her to linger on her deathbed, we are given to understand that "the strain of acquiring and using the complicated Clairvoyance Code" had sadly "done irreparable mischief."

I did enjoy this book, and El Mystico gives a good sense of the fun of it. But naturally, as a female, I had to read it in teeny-tiny doses so that my sensitive brain would not explode.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/26/11 02:57 PM

Lisa, do you feel the text would survive a Barry Lyndon type alteration where it is fairly obvious to the modern reader that the protagonist's journey though the world leaves behind a wake of destruction and despair?
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 10/26/11 04:37 PM

No, Jon, I don't believe that the text would survive such an alteration. It's just all-in-good-fun youth literature of the era. Turning the plucky lad who's keen on conjuring into the source of "destruction and despair" for all who encounter him would change the entire thing into something so different that you might as well just start your story from scratch and forget about "Conjurer Dick."
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/27/11 03:27 AM

That's too bad because I'm sure Hollywood has been looking for years to replicate the success of Barry Lyndon.
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Postby RobertAllen » 10/28/11 01:22 PM

Having read this thread I will just say, Phew! I was afraid this was about some ailment magicians might be prone to. Like Tennis Elbow.
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Postby mrgoat » 10/28/11 01:45 PM

RobertAllen wrote:Having read this thread I will just say, Phew! I was afraid this was about some ailment magicians might be prone to. Like Tennis Elbow.


That just made me spit out my dinner laughing.
Thanks.
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