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Bill Mullins
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 21st, 2011, 12:52 pm

Grant McSorley wrote:While the SF Call article is interesting, I'd be careful about reading too much into it.
Agreed. This is no smoking gun, just an interesting tidbit -- but one which links Edwin S. Andrews more strongly to Erdnase than he was before.
Also, out of curiosity, what percentage of the population would have been regular card players (e.g. once or twice a week) in 1911? I'd assume it was be pretty high among single men.
Edwin S. Andrews was not single.

But your question is valid, and probably unanswerable. I'd be interested in knowing how many decks of cards were sold in the U.S. in 1902, per capita, compared to today.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Roger M. » March 21st, 2011, 2:52 pm

Sorry, I'll have to put more into the article than Grant does.

The concept of an article about a lumberjack, miner, accountant, whatever........that makes very specific mention ("at length" relative to the entire article) about a mans technique for avoiding a game of cards is (IMO) more than just a passing reference to something commonly written about.

It's like a 1902 article saying Joe Blow dresses up in ladies clothing, and then asking "OK, that doesn't mean anything, besides, how many men dressed up in ladies clothing in 1902"?

OK.........maybe not exactly like that, but you get the point :)

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Grant McSorley » March 21st, 2011, 10:38 pm

Just to be clear, Bill, I'm not trying to be dismissive of your or Richard's research, I find it all fascinating and it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Roger, I understand your point, but considering the story is from a gossip column for railway men, I thought the point was more about Andrews going to see his young "pippins" than getting away from the cards, but I've been wrong before.

Grant

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 21st, 2011, 11:32 pm

Grant McSorley wrote:Just to be clear, Bill, I'm not trying to be dismissive of your . . . research,


I didn't think you were. I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the same as a diary entry saying "My new book on cheating at cards just came out".

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2011, 7:53 am

Bill, even that would hardly prove authorship. It might suggest some involvement in the project or that the writer presumed to claim a form of ownership which would be valueable in this investigation.

I'm still wondering what a "pippin" is and whether they wore women's clothes.

Are we willing to forge artifacts to create a fictitious historical figure? Or perhaps this continued discourse about a single person who never was will help us out later when we get on to belief formation and mythmaking?

See the Borges story for an outline or ask your clever neighbors who prattle in Klingon.
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Reason: It says so here in my good book and if you don't agree that it is true because my book is good then you are bad.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Joe Pecore » March 22nd, 2011, 9:27 am

From Websters "pippin: a crisp tart apple having usually yellow or greenish-yellow skin strongly flushed with red and used especially for cooking."
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2011, 9:38 am

Thanks - I was wondering as the text in question
His excuse has always been that he had to journey to Watsonville and see about a shipment of "Pippins." A few days ago friends from the other side of the bay saw him in Market street conversing with several young women.
left me puzzled as to the writer's use of scare quotes to signal allusion and/or inuendo.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Joe Pecore » March 22nd, 2011, 9:43 am

Looks like it can also mean "[Informal]- A person or thing that is admired."
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 22nd, 2011, 3:06 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Bill, even that would hardly prove authorship. It might suggest some involvement in the project or that the writer presumed to claim a form of ownership which would be valueable in this investigation.


Maybe it wouldn't be proof, but it would be so persuasive when combined with the circumstantial evidence already found by Richard Hatch that I would treat it as proof.


Are we willing to forge artifacts to create a fictitious historical figure?
Nobody's talking about forging anything. Why do you raise such a wild tangent? And who is the "fictitious historical figure"?

Or perhaps this continued discourse about a single person who never was will help us out later when we get on to belief formation and mythmaking?
Who, again, is the "single person who never was"? Erdnase existed -- he wrote a book. Andrews existed -- he was in the papers.

See the Borges story for an outline or ask your clever neighbors who prattle in Klingon.
Again, where do you get this stuff? As Norm Peterson once said to Cliff Clavin, "What color is the sky in your world?"

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2011, 3:27 pm

Bill,

It seems to me that the study of the text itself pretty much put a "no" to any further fretting over a single author.

Not knowing the Borges story is, at this point and after being referenced a few times here, IMHO kinda sad. Here's a link to a discussion. The creation of an artificial culture by way of forged artifacts and well intended interpolations/extrapolations is disscussed there and actually happening in our real world, Klingon being one example. Not sure if the original of the Borges work is in the public domain though it is on varous sites in text format. There are treasures in the literature of the fantastic which inform much in our craft. Just because we have folks who think they live on Uqbar here does not mean the rest of us don't catch the flights of fancy when they happen.

Cliff Claven and Norm Paterson are also fictitious characters. Or is there a special entrance to the Bull and Finch that leads to "Cheers" in your world?

Jon
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Roger M. » March 22nd, 2011, 4:15 pm

Pointless..........utterly pointless.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 22nd, 2011, 5:52 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:It seems to me that the study of the text itself pretty much put a "no" to any further fretting over a single author.


Disagree. Disagree STRONGLY. The text represents itself as a single work, by a single author. I've read many of arguments for the position that two or more people were responsible, and don't find them persuasive.

Let me be careful, here. I am not stating that only one person is responsible for book. I am stating that those who argue otherwise have not proved their case. And since the book itself indicates only 1 author, then the presumption should be 1 author. Any other theory of authorship is suspect ab initio, and must overcome that problem.

Not knowing the Borges story is, at this point and after being referenced a few times here, IMHO kinda sad.
If my lack of familiarity with your oblique allusions to an Argentinian poet saddens you, then that's too bad. My leisure reading is driven by factors other than "What arcane references did JT make today?"

If your reading of Erdnase makes you think that more than one person wrote it, I''d love to hear your reasoning, and debate (in the best sene of the word) the position with you. That would be a much more constructive use of this thread than figuring out why you think Klingon has anything to do with "The Expert At the Card Table".

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2011, 6:17 pm

Kindly turn to page 72 of the article to the statistical analysis of the text itself.

We are agreed that there is a text, that there was a publisher, a burnt publishing house, a couple of reported and dubiously performed interviews... and lots of Andrews in the world that might have had some part in inspiring the name used as "author" of the text.

Artifacts like checks, signed registers and applications are useful here. Is there even one check or note from the author (or even agent for) to the artist or publisher or ... ?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2011, 6:20 pm

Roger M. wrote:Pointless..........utterly pointless.


IMHO it's pretty telling, almost a thematic apperception test for magicians who can read.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 22nd, 2011, 6:33 pm

Jonathan, please stop writing stuff that exists at such an esoteric level that it makes no sense to most of us.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 22nd, 2011, 10:12 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Kindly turn to page 72 of the article to the statistical analysis of the text itself.


Unfortunately, the article by Wiseman and Holmes represents more of a start of an investigation, than the end of one. The graph on p. 72 of the Feb 2011 issue is difficult to understand, and I don't think any real conclusions about authorship can be drawn from it. The authors assert that the data presented in their Fig 1 shows that Sec 3 and part of Sec 1 are more stylistically similar to each other than to the rest of the book, and thus are likely to have been written by the same author. But Fig 2 indicates that the same part of Sec 1 is more similar to a third author (Gerritt Evans) than it is to the Sec 3 of Erdnase (which is more similar to the writings of Edwin Sachs than to the other parts of Erdnase). So, is Sec 3 (the card tricks) written by the same author as the remainder of the book; or by Edwin Sachs; or by the person who wrote Sec 1a (who may or may not have been Evans, or copied from him)?

And how close together would Sec 1a/3 have to be to the rest of the book stylistically to indicate that the author was the same person? Wiseman and Holmes put quantitative values on their stylistic distance measurements, but don't tell us at what point the numbers get so big that they indicate different authors.

Where is their control analysis? What if you subjected a book with a single, known author, like one of Richard Kaufman's books (or perhaps someone with a more distinctive voice, like Racherbaumer) to this sort of analysis - would the results show similar variations in style? How big is the "spread" of a talented writer of a book of similar size and topic - more or less than that shown by the analysis of Erdnase?

Further, I would submit that the way they have divided the text into smaller groups, particularly within Sec 3, skews the results. Sec 3 has 3 distinct authorial voices:

a. Patter -- much more flowery language than elsewhere in the book. Within quote marks.
b. Straightforward expository text (such as that between the words "Card Tricks" on p 171 of most standard editions and "Patter and execution" on p 172).
c. Direct instruction -- commands within parentheses in the Card Tricks section. Many articles ("a", "an", "the") are omitted here, and that would corrupt any statistical analysis of the frequency of small words. (This omission is a stylistic preference exercised by the author; and not due to the fact that one author uses the words with a different frequency than another).

Note, for example, that the Patter of the card tricks is the only place in the book where the author uses the first person singular pronoun "I" everywhere else he uses the editorial "we". Again, this should be accounted for in any statistical analysis of small word frequencies

Wiseman and Holmes' failure to segregate the text by authorial voice in the Card Tricks section, as opposed to separating it into contiguous blocks of text, has perturbed their results.

And despite these critiques (which I've discussed with the authors when the article came out), I think this is an important analysis and needed to be done. EATCT should be compared to itself and to other relevant works with as many tools as possible, and by as many investigators as possible.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2011, 10:43 pm

Maybe this program will help with further explorations.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 22nd, 2011, 11:44 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Maybe this program will help with further explorations.


Maybe it will. We await, with bated breath, your results.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Geno Munari » March 23rd, 2011, 1:32 am

Quoting Bill Mullins, "Disagree. Disagree STRONGLY. The text represents itself as a single work, by a single author. I've read many of arguments for the position that two or more people were responsible, and don't find them persuasive."

Well spoken yet there are facts you can't disprove.
Common sense may sway you.
This gambler had more than 101 drawings made about his sleights on all the moves in the book speak for itself. Yet there are no drawings on the sections on mentalism, i.e. the set-up deck (Eight Kings). Maybe because the writing was completed after the first section was finished by a different writer? It just doesnt follow. Non sequitur.
Why would a hard core player write about a set-up deck that had zero chance of "getting the money"? The writer could have never used the set-up deck material for poker, could he? Non sequitur.
And please don't destroy this sentence because it is not exactly as written in Expert.
Harte performed very close to Andrews as a mind reader; he lived about 60 miles way. He may or may not have written the 8 Kings section. Yet he had a mind reading act. Many pages in Expert are devoted to this subject. A gambler would not even have knowledge of this unless he was a magician or had magician friends, and more likely a magician who really knew his set-up deck.
This is interesting. Yet you et al have this mission to dismiss these facts. Harte (Harto) had a connection to Erdnase. Yet because Hatch says no, you et al dismiss this connection.

The Man Who Was Erdnase has all of the points and footnotes that you et al have not disproven.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Joe Pecore » March 23rd, 2011, 4:31 am

I briefly tried that Textual Analysis system on the Erdnase and the Mine Timbering text last year: http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... Post216808
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Re: Erdnase

Postby John Wilson » March 23rd, 2011, 6:03 am

At least, to me, the difference in the voice from the "card table artifice" and "legerdemain" sections is readily apparent. The voice in the latter section is not the type of voice usually found in the type that might be capable of the voice in the first part. I have no proof of this from mathematical analysis of the text in any manner. All I know is what god damned gamblers sound like versus magicians and the single author theory loses weight for me, personally...

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 8:08 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Maybe this program will help with further explorations.


Maybe it will. We await, with bated breath, your results.


It falls to others to prove the text is not an assembled work proffered by the publisher - Occam's razor and all that.

Let's imagine this situation as if in detective fiction: It's no great leap to have Doyle's version, "The Missing Expert", include an early moment where Holmes points out the mystery of the title page. Watson notices the reversed name option and Lestrade goes running off to round up any likely Andrews. For now I go with the Garden of Forking Paths version and will be there waiting for you with "bated breath".

Sceptically yours,

Jon
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 8:43 am

Edit - that probably should be "Death and the Compass" as model story. Perhaps our next generation will find this matter reads more like an Adams "Dirk Gently" story after the dust settles.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 9:16 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
It falls to others to prove the text is not an assembled work proffered by the publisher - Occam's razor and all that.



Fail.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 9:27 am

Magic Fred wrote:Fail.


That word is about what I feel like writing whenever I find a flight of fancy in place of a reasoned argument.

Kindly offer a better hypothtesis as regards the origins of the text in question.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 9:42 am

I have explained at length in previous posts. Briefly, following Occam's Razor (which suggests eliminating all unnecessary assumptions) would indicate that the book had one author, who was also the publisher, who also needed the money for some unknown reason.

There is no reason at all to assume, without evidence, that S.W. Erdnase (whoever this refers too) was not the sole author.

The burden of proof (especially according to Occam) lies with those who want to introduce the idea that the book was a collaborative effort.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 9:43 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Magic Fred wrote:Fail.


That word is about what I feel like writing whenever I find a flight of fancy in place of a reasoned argument.

Kindly offer a better hypothtesis as regards the origins of the text in question.


Quite right, please excuse me. Previous reasoned arguments have been blindly ignored. I fancied an alternative approach for a moment.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 9:46 am

The burden of proof must rest with one who wishes to introduce a person other than the publisher in this matter. Did Vernon meet the author? Did Gardner? Did the Illustrator?

...that S.W. Erdnase (whoever this refers too) was not the sole author...


Fail?

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 9:48 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
that S.W. Erdnase (whoever this refers too) was not the sole author...


Fail. Really. Laughably.

ROFL,

Nicolas Bourbaki


So, according to Occam's Razor, this post was written by multiple authors?

Keep digging.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 9:53 am

Magic Fred wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:
that S.W. Erdnase (whoever this refers too) was not the sole author...


Fail. Really. Laughably.

ROFL,

Nicolas Bourbaki


So, according to Occam's Razor, this post was written by multiple authors?

Keep digging.


Why yes "Magic Fred" - there appear to be at least two authors in the post you cited and quoted.
Per policy at this BBS each participant is expected to be a distinct person.

While I am digging deeply into the denial and vanity of some - this is not to diminish the magic or even the value of the text in question.

Kindly consider the matter as understood (material evidence in hand) as set in a detective story. Where would you expect it to go? I'd go right to the fire at the publishing house and see a very simple story.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 10:01 am

Forgiving my incompetence in using the quoting feature, most readers will get the point I was making.

A point which has been explained, and thoroughly substantiated.

Happy to leave it to the readers to decide if Occam's Razor would suggest a single author, or the assumption of multiple authors.


While I am digging deeply into the denial and vanity of some - this is not to diminish the magic or even the value of the text in question.


You overestimate yourself, sir.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Pete McCabe » March 23rd, 2011, 10:15 am

Just for the record, Occam's Razor is helpful when trying to choose which of several hypotheses to explore, but it can never be used as a point in a actual (i.e. formal, logical) argument, as it carries no weight whatsoever. It never proves anything.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 10:25 am

Pete McCabe wrote:Just for the record, Occam's Razor is helpful when trying to choose which of several hypotheses to explore, but it can never be used as a point in a actual (i.e. formal, logical) argument, as it carries no weight whatsoever. It never proves anything.


Absolutely. I was pointing out the absurdity of invoking Occam's Razor in reference to assumptions about the authorship. Taken at face value, there was one author who decided to use a pseudonym.

Applying Occam's Razor would favor this hypothesis over the one of multiple authorship...

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Roger M. » March 23rd, 2011, 10:50 am

Geno Munari wrote:
The Man Who Was Erdnase has all of the points and footnotes that you et al have not disproven.

The problem with your theory is that MFA couldn't write a single word that would (or could) be mistaken for some of other well crafted text as written by Erdnase in EATCT.

"The Man Who Was Erdnase" is an important, but grossly flawed book. If it was researched in such a way that it wasn't flawed.........this thread would have ended years ago, and we'd all be agreeing that MFA was Erdnase.

That's simply not the case, and the book doesn't hold up to incisive investigation.

I posted this example of a letter written by MFA, then some text from EATCT here on the Genii Forum in 2008 as an example of exactly why the book fails on this one major point. In both examples, the topic is referenced to "shooting", so similarity in topic could highlight similarity in writing style.........so obviously not the case here:

S.W. Erdnase:
"...the jars to our pocketbook caused far less anguish than the heartrending jolts to our insufferable conceit".

"Boldness and nerve are also absolutely essential. Ability in card handling does not necessarily insure success. Proficiency in target practice is not the sole qualification of the trap shooter. Many experts with the gun who can nonchalantly ring up the bull's eye in a shooting gallery could not hit the side of a barn in a duel. The greater the emergency, or the greater the stakes, the greater the nerve required".

"We have not been impelled to our task by the qualms of a guilty conscience, nor through the hope of reforming the world. Man cannot change his temperament, and few care to control it".


M.F. Andrews:
"I caught her playing sneak on me and going to the Alhambra Hotel district, in which she became a well known character. We split up several times on the strength of it, but each time I took the bag of diamonds".

"As I realize my life is at stake, and as I am a crack shot, being an old-time bear hunter in the Maine woods, whoever tries to get me, make your will".

"In Holyoke, Mass., I have a wife living. I wish I had a divorce".

"I have consumption, heart failure, lots of crushed ribs and catarrh of the intestines. One month in jail and I would be dead as a herring".


(To which I added my own thoughts):
........Anybody who think the same person wrote these samples might consider seeking remedial english lessons.
It's obvious they were written by different people, and when this information is taken in consort with M.D. Smiths memory of what S.W. Erdnase actually looked like, M.F. Andrews as a candidate becomes what he's always been, an obvious distraction in the search for the identity of our friend S.W. Erdnase.




Occams Razor seems to require that one deduce their answer by making the fewest assumptions possible.

So given a book, indicating a single author on the title page..........Occams Razor suggests one work with the "single author theory" until provable evidence suggests otherwise.

The textual analysis in last months Genii magazine was enjoyable and very interesting as presented, but it really is just the opening salvo in that field of investigation.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 10:55 am

It's precisely that "face value" matter of authorship that is put in question by the use of a fairly obvious fiction in place of the author's name (or authors), the inclusion of a magic section and the oddly set introduction. It's also the lack of direct evidence of checks/documents of a distinct person to put in the place of an author (or even delegate/agent) that puts the question to the fore in my analysis.

We agree there was a printing house. We agree there are mentions of royalties and some memories recalled long after by an artist. What I'm doing is going to the hard facts and then weighting in the recollections etc as if this were a detective story.

This is our detective story. We have a text and some records and some good ideas. From there it's very hard not to get into fiction and creative writing. I have a conservative lean on matters historical. When given a choice of author is printer or author is distinct but no evidence - i go with the simpler, while not rejecting any flights of fancy as satisfying fiction as long as we keep them distinct from our historical concerns.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 11:28 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:It's precisely that "face value" matter of authorship that is put in question by the use of a fairly obvious fiction in place of the author's name (or authors), the inclusion of a magic section and the oddly set introduction. It's also the lack of direct evidence of checks/documents of a distinct person to put in the place of an author (or even delegate/agent) that puts the question to the fore in my analysis.

We agree there was a printing house. We agree there are mentions of royalties and some memories recalled long after by an artist. What I'm doing is going to the hard facts and then weighting in the recollections etc as if this were a detective story.

This is our detective story. We have a text and some records and some good ideas. From there it's very hard not to get into fiction and creative writing. I have a conservative lean on matters historical. When given a choice of author is printer or author is distinct but no evidence - i go with the simpler, while not rejecting any flights of fancy as satisfying fiction as long as we keep them distinct from our historical concerns.


This is a fundamentally flawed analysis. Before I refute your points, you might be so kind as to substantiate them.

- what is your line of reasoning to suggest that an obvious pseudonym casts doubt on the NUMBER of authors?

- what specifically about the inclusion of a magic section might suggest favoring multiple authors? It suggests a number of things to me, none of which is a higher probability of multiple authors.

- what specifically do you find odd about the introduction, and how might this suggest multiple authorship over a single author? How and why does it add weight to one hypothesis over the other?

- why would the lack of evidence for the existence of a distinct person suggest that there were multiple authors any more than it would suggest that there was a single author? I see no way to justify this as a logical line of reasoning....

"we can't find the supposed author, therefore it must have been written by several authors (none of whom we can find either!)"

It just doesn't follow.

I don't see what point you are trying to make regarding the presence of a printer. It is a book, yes there is a printer. In what world does it follow that there is therefore a higher probability that the book had multiple authors?

I also do not concur that the multiple author hypothesis is the simpler of the two.

Disregarding the actual contents of the book itself (which convinces me overwhelmingly that the book was written by one man), I have not yet seen a single piece of evidence to lend weight to either side of the debate.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 23rd, 2011, 11:49 am

Tony Giorgio has written about both magic and gambling. He must, therefore, be two people.

Likewise Jim Swain, Darwin Ortiz, etc., etc. . . .

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 11:54 am

My recent posts are about treating the text as something assembled by the printer. That the printer sent someone to meet the artist to demonstrate some sleights for the first section.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Magic Fred
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » March 23rd, 2011, 12:00 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:My recent posts are about treating the text as something assembled by the printer. That the printer sent someone to meet the artist to demonstrate some sleights for the first section.


flights of fancy...

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 23rd, 2011, 12:16 pm

Magic Fred wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:My recent posts are about treating the text as something assembled by the printer. That the printer sent someone to meet the artist to demonstrate some sleights for the first section.


flights of fancy...


yes, I will review to see if that could have been the printer himself.

Fred, folks, picture yourselves as characters in a detective story.
Some Sherlockian observations are welcome.
Not sure about the comedy of Lestrade or bumbling of Watson.

Any statistical findings from using that program on random samples of erdnase text yet?
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on March 23rd, 2011, 12:21 pm, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: this edit brought to you by the letter l in samples


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