Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book: Two Odd Volumes on Magic & Automata

Two Odd Volumes on Magic & Automata
I am pleased to inform you of a great new find entitled Two Odd Volumes on Magic & Automata. This book covers most of my favorite subjects: the magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, history, magic, automata and mechanical toys!

'The Sette of Odd Volumes' was a group of book collectors in Victorian era London. They published transcripts of the after dinner lectures that they presented to each other. Two Odd Volumes on Magic & Automata presents two of these lectures in a single volume.

About the first book on magic and Robert-Houdin:
William Manning was a club member who gave an after dinner talk on his recollections of the great magician Robert-Houdin. When Manning was a young boy he met the great magician and befriended Robert-Houdin's sons. His 'recollections' about Robert-Houdin were later published as a small book. Reading it today, over a hundred years after the speech was originally given, one is still struck by how forward thinking Robert-Houdin was and how down to earth. He developed many famous magic acts that are still performed today. Originally trained as a clockmaker, Robert-Houdin built all his own automata and magic props.

About the second book on automata:
Manning's talk on Robert-Houdin prompted another member, Conrad William Cooke, to undertake a brief survey on the history of automata down through the ages. That talk resulted in the second wonderful book included here.

You can read more about the volume, see some of the illustrations, preview sample pages, and order your own copy on this site dedicated to the book Two Odd Volumes on Magic & Automata.

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