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Topic: David Devant
Message: Posted by: Hushai (May 3, 2004 12:22AM)
How do you pronounce the surname of the great magician David Devant? I've seen the name in print but never heard it spoken aloud. Is it "De-VANT" or "DEV-ant?" Is the "-ant" pronounced like "ant" or "ahnt?" Maybe this isn't the place to ask this, but I was surprised to find just now that there's no Forum, apparently, on the Magic Café dedicated to the history of magic. I've just been reading Jim Steinmeyer's fine book "Hiding the Elephant," and wonder if there would be any interest in such a Forum.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (May 9, 2004 12:17AM)
Good question. The pronunciation I’ve always assumed is “Deev–ont”, where “ont” is the same as the way someone with an Oxford English accent pronounces “aunt.” The accent is on the first syllable. The pronunciation I use for “Devant” has a similar rhythm as the term “sleeving.”

I don't know if this is correct, but I've heard other magicians use this pronunciation too.

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Update: July 10, 2004

I actually put the accent on the "second" syllable, not the first. The rhythm is the same rhythm as the French word “savant.”
Message: Posted by: Hushai (May 9, 2004 11:31PM)
Thanks, Bill. Jim Steinmeyer says that David Devant adopted that as a performing name after seeing a painting by a French artist entitled "David Devant Goliath," i.e. "David Before Goliath." If you give it the French pronunciation it would be "Duh-VAHN" (or something like that), but the English aren't usually eager to use good French pronunciations. The one you suggest is more like the way an Englishman like Devant would probably say it.