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Professor Hoffmann and his Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888

by Thomas A. Sawyer
#1 Biographies & History author
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Professor Hoffmann and his Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888 by Thomas A. Sawyer

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This is the first digital-edition of Thomas A. Sawyer's Professor Hoffmann and His Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888. The first printing was a softcover printed book, published in late 2016. That printing consisted of less than 60 copies, so the book is not in wide circulation, and in fact even its existence is not well known.

What is there about the contents of the book that could make it well worthwhile?

Chapter 1 is called "Angelo Lewis in Perspective." That chapter is an overview of Professor Hoffmann. It alludes to several of Hoffmann's books, inside and outside of magic, that can be considered classics.

It lists many of the periodicals that Hoffmann contributed to, and it singles out a few of his periodical contributions for special mention, specifically "My Only Ghost" (Mayfair Magazine), "The Misadventures of an Amateur Conjurer" (London Society), and "The Wizard's Tower" (Cassell's Saturday Journal).

David Devant is quoted, from one of the places he discusses his first meeting with Hoffmann (when Devant was just a boy), where Devant tells of slapping Hoffmann on the back, causing Hoffmann's glasses to fall off - and break! (He does say that Hoffmann contended that the glasses didn't break.)

Chapter 2 is called "The Boy's Own Book: The Main Magic Book of Angelo Lewis's Boyhood," and Chapter 3 is "The Books That Influenced Modern Magic."

Chapter 4 is called "The Writing of Modern Magic," and it is likely the longest chapter in the book. It is divided into five sections:

  • Background
  • The Contract for the Writing of Modern Magic
  • The Role of Magic Dealers
  • The Welcome Received by Modern Magic
  • A Defining Attribute of Modern Magic.
And then there are 15 other chapters!

Now, some of you might be aware that long before the serialization of Modern Magic, other conjuring works were serialized in Every Boy's Magazine (under that title or otherwise).

One of these items was George Forrest's Conjuring, which appeared in three installments in Every Boy's Magazine. Individual, complete, separate issues of Every Boy's Magazine (and its related titles - the periodical went by three different titles during its history) are almost never seen. In that respect, it is very different from periodicals such as The Youth's Companion or The Boy's Own Paper, of which individual issues are often seen for sale.

Sawyer has in his collection four issues of Every Boy's Magazine from 1864, and though they are somewhat incomplete, the covers and a great deal of the interior material survive. Two of those issues carry installments of Forrest's Conjuring. Professor Hoffmann and His Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888 includes images of the covers of both of those issues, as well as an image of the back cover of one, and an image of a page from one of the articles. Sawyer views this as one of the precursors of the serialized version of Hoffmann's Modern Magic.

The book contains 19 chapters. The list of contents (see below) gives a more detailed overview of its contents.

CONTENTS

  • Preface
  • CHAPTER 1 Angelo Lewis in Perspective
  • CHAPTER 2 The Boy's Own Book: The Main Magic Book of Angelo Lewis's Boyhood
  • CHAPTER 3 The Books That Influenced Modern Magic
  • CHAPTER 4 The Writing of Modern Magic
  • CHAPTER 5 Angelo Lewis's Pen Name
  • CHAPTER 6 Modern Magic: The Intended Audience and the Results
  • CHAPTER 7 Every Boy's Magazine
  • CHAPTER 8 Why Did Professor Hoffmann Refer to a "New Series" of Every Boy's Magazine?
  • CHAPTER 9 Every Boy's Magazine and the Changes in the Periodical's Title
  • CHAPTER 10 A Description of the September 1876 Issue of Every Boy's Magazine
  • CHAPTER 11 The First English Edition of Modern Magic
  • CHAPTER 12 The First American Edition of Modern Magic
  • CHAPTER 13 The Ratio of Boys to Girls in the Readership of Every Boy's Magazine and the Geographic Distribution of Every Boy's Magazine and Modern Magic
  • CHAPTER 14 A Description of the July 1876 Issue of Every Boy's Magazine
  • CHAPTER 15 Professor Hoffmann's Translation of Robert-Houdin's The Secrets of Stage Conjuring
  • CHAPTER 16 Professor Hoffmann's Translation of Drawing-Room Conjuring
  • CHAPTER 17 Professor Hoffmann's The Young Wizard
  • CHAPTER 18 Professor Hoffmann's More Magic
  • CHAPTER 19 Angelo Lewis, Window-Blind Manufacturer
  • Additional Notes Regarding Sources
  • L'Envoi
  • Illustrations
  • Colophon

1st edition 2016, PDF 204 pages.
word count: 32869 which is equivalent to 131 standard pages of text


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