I'm wondering how Marty -- in his new version of the book -- handled the oft-mentioned "five mistakes" in Erdnase.
Tom, the short answer to your question is that "The Indexed Expert"
(as I've come to think of the new edition) handles the famous "five errors" by including nineteen of them.
The long answer is that, in addition to the complete, original text of The Expert at the Card Table
and a full index, the book also features an "Errata" that describes and corrects nineteen errors of description and depiction that are in The Expert at the Card Table
. (The errors are retained in the main text of the book.) These errors are purely instructional--they are those that might mislead or confuse a reader with regard to Erdnase's techniques and tricks. An example of one of the "Errata" listings is below:
Page 53, BOTTOM DEALING.
"The [s]second[/s] [third] finger and thumb do the work." (DAI VERNON)
(The word "second" is struck-through, but I don't know how to display that here.)
Each of the nineteen errors is credited to the person who first openly explained and corrected it. This crediting may not be exact, given the underground nature of Erdnase's "scholars." (I use the word "scholar" with a deliberate dose of sarcasm. The notion of tallying and hoarding Erdnase's errors like so many secret treasures is, I find, ridiculous and unscholarly.) For example, Dai Vernon spoke of three technical errors in the book, and yet I could only find a single one of those errors that he first explained himself, either in print, audio or video. As a result, some of Vernon's discoveries are probably credited to Ray Grismer in the "Errata," because it was Grismer who discussed them openly.
Typographical, grammatical, mechanical and linguistic errors have been left unchanged and unnoted in the text of the book. One reason for doing this was to restore Erdnase's text to the publisher/author's original version. The Expert at the Card Table
has become so edited, annotated and expurgated in recent years, that I felt it was time to make a serious effort to conserve a masterpiece of literature. I also think that Erdnase's errors are characteristic of the author, and lend a distinct flavor to his book. They can even provide clues to his identity. Anyone professing to make a textual comparison between Erdnase and another writer should probably be working with Erdnase's original text, and not the many erroneous versions that have been published. The difference between a comma and a semicolon, or the words "sleight" and "slight," are essential in that sort of work.
However, I am also personally very interested in all the variations that creep into a book--especially first editions of The Expert at the Card Table
. I've greatly enjoyed the posts on your blog, Tom
, that delve deeply into that aspect. It would also be interesting to hear, from collectors and scholars who have substantial Erdnase collections, about the changes that gradually entered into subsequent editions. For example: Who changed the "Table of Contents" on page 5 (first edition), from "Top Loosing One Card" to "Top Losing One Card"? And why were two illustrations and more than two dozen important pages--by Erdnase and Vernon's own admissions--cut from Revelation
? (Even more mysterious to me: How could magicians praise that book for including "the entire working content" with "all the original illustrations," as it was in reviews such as Jamy Ian Swiss's in Genii
?)The Expert at the Card Table
has an extensive and fascinating history of publication. I'm happy to have been able to add to that legacy, and I hope that the restoration of the book's text, the creation of a full index and the inclusion of an "Errata" will be useful to all readers of Erdnase.