Cover image for Magic and showmanship : a handbook for conjurers
Magic and showmanship : a handbook for conjurers
Nelms, Henning, 1900-1986.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Mineola, N.Y. : Dover Publications, 2000.

Physical Description:
xi, 322 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: 1969.

Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GV1547 .N43 1969 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Central Library GV1547 .N43 1969 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Like theatrical presentations, conjuring is an art of illusion. A magician skilled in the craft is able to convince an audience that he or she can read minds, communicate with the spirit world, make objects appear or disappear, and perform other acts of seemingly genuine magic. Without having mastered the art of presentation or "showmanship," however, even the most competent sleight-of-hand artist can fall short in performance. With this in mind, noted authority Henning Nelms goes beyond the basics to show how techniques developed for the stage by playwrights, directors, and actors can heighten the dramatic effect of a magician's performance.
In this instructive book, Helms analyzes every phase of conjuring -- from sleights, devices, and illusions to misdirection, controlling the audience's attention, incorporating "patter," and the effective use of assistants. Of particular interest is a chapter on body language, posture, positioning and movement. Also included are some 60 original routines -- from simple card tricks to such major illusions as having the performer suddenly appear at stage center.
Indispensable as an instruction manual for novices, this how-to guide -- enhanced with nearly 200 of the author's illustrations -- will also serve as a lasting source of advice and inspiration for veteran conjurers.

Table of Contents

1 The Two Magics
2 Deception vs. Conviction
3 The Measure of Meaning
4 Who?
5 Making the Most of Assistants
6 Casting the Spell
7 Mystery without Magic
8 Providing the Proof
9 Devices for Deception
10 The Great Secret
11 Eliminating Departures
12 Consistency in Characterization
13 Concealing Devices
14 Controlling Attention
15 Misdirection
16 Devising Illusions
17 Dramatic Structure
18 Continuity
19 Material for Entertainment
20 Words
21 Business
22 The Performer and the Stage

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