From the Preface:
- One notable feature of this work, which should, we believe, serve to prove the faith that is in us, consists in our unhesitating disclosure of original devices, and the modus opuandi of original experiments in magic. So far from feeling any reluctance towards letting the general public into the secrets of our procedure, we are most anxious to educate the public in such matters, in order that a proper understanding of our art may be disseminated among its votaries and patrons. The point is this. Tricks and dodges are of comparatively small importance in the art of magic. At the utmost, they display inventive ability, but nothing more. The effect-and the effect alone-produced by the use of such inventions, is the consideration of real importance.
The book was not particularly successful with the general public, but did go on to become a revered textbook by many magicians. It was rated one of the "Ten basic books for a working library of conjuring" by H. Adrian Smith.
- PART I: THE ART IN MAGIC by Nevil Maskelyne
- PART II: THE THEORY OF MAGIC by Nevil Maskelyne
- PART III: THE PRACTICE OF MAGIC by David Devant
It also contains a twenty page biographical index of card tricks.
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