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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Everything old is new again » » When did "illusion" became "magic"?? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

leonardoglass
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Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
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Hi, everyone!

I was reading about magic history and some came upon my mind: when did "illusion" became "magic"?

In another words, in the beggining of magic era, our art had another names: prestidigitation, legierdemain, physical amusements, natural magick, etc... Who was the first who made the equivalence between our art of illusion, with the ancient religion priests (the 'mags')?

In portuguese, my first language, this diference is less evident. We have two words: "mágica" for the entertainer art and "magia" for the sobrenatural/religious one. So, in portuguese at least, this difference is less evident, once we had differente words, for differents things (although, many times both words being used as synonimous). That's the reason this doubt was born in my mind.

Thanks for all the help!

Sorry for any misspelings.

Greetings from Brazil!
Dick Oslund
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Bienvenidos!

I suggest that you move your post to FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Eric Evans
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I suggest getting some books on the history of magic. Walter Gibson published an excellent book, that looks something like a comic book or what might be called a graphic novel these days. It's call the "History of Magic" if I remember correctly. It shows how magic has been used since the beginning of civilization. If one investigates further still, there is magic that still exists today and was used before civilization, when we had just rudimentary hunter/gatherer technology; very little social structure.

Magic was the beginning of who we are. Mundis Vult Decipi ergo Decipiatur.
leonardoglass
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Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
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Quote:
On Nov 11, 2016, Eric Evans wrote:
I suggest getting some books on the history of magic. Walter Gibson published an excellent book, that looks something like a comic book or what might be called a graphic novel these days. It's call the "History of Magic" if I remember correctly. It shows how magic has been used since the beginning of civilization. If one investigates further still, there is magic that still exists today and was used before civilization, when we had just rudimentary hunter/gatherer technology; very little social structure.

Magic was the beginning of who we are. Mundis Vult Decipi ergo Decipiatur.


Hey Eric, thanks for the answer.

My question was intended to be a little more pratical (maybe the fact of I not being fluent in english may be the cause of this misinterpretation). What was the first "book/panphlet/poster/whatever" in which the word "magic" appeared in a modern way?

I did some researches and the farest I could go was a book in 1867 by Professor Hoffmann called "Modern Magic". I haven't read it yet, but I think that's the "turning point" in the way the world began seeing "illusions" as an entertainer form of art, not a supernatural thing.

In the ancient days magic and religion were almost the same thing ("Religion is my belief; magic is the belief of my enemies"). ABout 1500's our art was called conjuring, afterwards "legierdemain", "hocus pocus", until Robert-Houdin called it illusion.

By the way, Houdin wrote a book called "Secrtes of conjuring AND MAGIC", which means, there was a line between these concepts (although, many artists today still draw a line between "magician" and "illusionists").

My doubt acutally is: why take an old religious word (magic, from persian "magh") to describe our art? Why not keep using "conjuring" or "prestidigitstion"? OK, "magic" is like a umbrella who holds all those different ways to perform magic, including mentalism, but why this word? That's whats buging me.

By the end, a little curiosity: In portuguese, we have two words for magic, "MÁGICA" refers to the art of illusion; and "MAGIA" which refers to the supernatural.

Sorry for my rusty english....
AndreOng1
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Illusion, in public eyes, really is just saying this magician is more expensive and with dancers. I don't think the title matters to what we do or how public perceives the art.
Anatole
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I'm wondering if Eric is thinking of "The Illustrated Story of Magic" that was published by the company famous for "Classics Illustrated":
http://www.lybrary.com/the-illustrated-s......136.html

Eric, please let us know if that's not the one you're thinking of. If there's some other comic book/graphic novel, I'd be interested in tracking it down.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Dick Oslund
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I think that Leonardo's "problem" is one of language, and, definition of terms. E.g.: Too many magicians consider an "illusion" to be a "trick with a big box"!

When I discuss this topic, I point out that a "magic" trick is based on 5% sleight of hand skills, 5% esoteric science principles, 5% PERCEPTUAL ILLUSIONS (optical, aural, tactile, gustatory, and, olfactory) PLUS (!) 85% PSYCHOLOGY.

Obviously, my mathematics is exaggerated!

Those 'cave-man conjurors", of course, didn't leave any written history of their "magic", but, human nature being what it is, I think that my definition is reasonable.

One or two people will dismiss my "pedantic" scribblings as not being "up to date", but, they've "worked" for me, for 70 years.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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