It is said that this book influenced Father Wenceslao Ciuró (and probably started his serious interest in magic). As Father Ciuró was one of the most prolific Spanish magic writers of the 20th century, Arte de Encantamiento might be one of the most important books in the history of magic in Spain (and the world). Without this book and Father Ciuró's influence, geniuses such as Juan Tamariz and Arturo de Ascanio could have been very successful (and rich) computer engineers (instead of creative geniuses of magic), and the world would have cheaper and better computers instead of all those card tricks... But who cares about cheaper and faster computers!
You will notice that part of the book is simply material taken from Robert Houdin's Sécrets de la Prestidigitation et la Magie (apparently, the author plagiarized some of Houdin's material). But there is also an excellent section on stage illusions you might find nowhere else but in this book.
As a curiosity, this book has an "Imprimatur" from the Spanish Catholic church. In the old days, Catholics were forbidden to read books in the "Index" (a list of forbidden books). On the other hand, books with the Imprimatur had been approved as reading material for Catholics. Magic books were probably seen as beneficial, because they served to educate people not to believe in witchcraft, spirit mediums and other hoaxes. You will find the Imprimatur within the book, if you want to know how it looks like.
The fact that Saint Juan Bosco (who is the Saint Patron of magicians proposed by Father Wenceslao Ciuró) had been a well known practitioner of conjuring and sleight of hand, could have also influenced the Catholic authorities to consider this type of books as adequate reading materials for Catholics.
1st edition 1951; 464
Reviewed by Wilhelm Eberhard
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] Date Added: Thursday 23 April, 2009
I wonder how would magic in Spain be like without Father Wenceslao Ciuró...
Anyhow, this is certainly a very interesting book, and the section on stage illusions is really good.
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