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Tragic Magic
by Harry Leat


(1 review, 2 customer ratings) ★★★★★

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Tragic Magic by Harry Leat

An original blurb read: Tragic Magic containing original magical sketches, tricks, some humour, and many interesting items that will grip you.

From The Sphinx: And here is another one that awakens my cereberzation - Harry Leat's Tragic Magic. Here is a book of 122 pages of the queerest conglomeration of sense and non-sense, good magic and irrelative matter - yet relating to magic - that has yet crossed my rugged editorial path. The table of contents lists 42 items, and I advise the purchaser of the book not to skip a single one of them. I do not know why the book is named Tragic Magic, for the magic it contains is far from tragic; it is live and wholesome. "The Vanishing Pail of Water" out Hovens Van Hoven, and would be a scream in his hands.... All of Harry Leat's books are worth possession and reading, and Tragic Magic is not the least by any means.

1st edition, 1925, Harry Leat, London; 122 pages.

  1. "Walk up! Walk up!"
  2. Introduction.
  3. "What is tragic in Magic."
  4. "My Hat."
  5. Farewell.
  6. His Start.
  7. The Lunar Rays.
  8. Magic at St. George's Hall.
  9. Gathering Laurels.
  10. The Electric Lady.
  11. The Academy of Makeshifts.
  12. The Falling Table.
  13. Swine or Saint.
  14. Tragic Blots on Magic.
  15. The Sacrifice.
  16. Dicky-Lagger.
  17. Almost Magic.
  18. Extracts.
  19. An appearing Silk.
  20. Magical Curs.
  21. The Hypnotized Rooster.
  22. Oh!
  23. "Chocolates on the brain."
  24. A Ventriloquial Suggestion.
  25. Dancing.
  26. The Miser.
  27. Light.
  28. "Up, cowards, and at 'em."
  29. The Vanishing Pail of Water.
  30. In Olden Days.
  31. Treasured Testimonials.
  32. it is Tragic Magic when.
  33. The Magic Circle.
  34. The Magic Circle Council.
  35. Impressive.
  36. More Circles.
  37. The Indian Rope Trick.
  38. East is East.
  39. Temperament.
  40. New Books.
  41. Battersea.
  42. The End.

word count: 21344 which is equivalent to 85 standard pages of text

Reviewed by Anonymous
★★★★   Date Added: Monday 27 November, 2006

Well at least for my $4.00 I worked out why it's titled "Tragic Magic". (Apparently not the original title but came to be named so by its legion of happy readers......not.) Old texts at a low cost cannot be expected to provide anything approaching a well rounded introduction to conjuring for the beginner or a polished source of material for the experienced practitioner. Although cited as having 122 pages when transposed to A4 the printout is 58. Of that a substantial use of space is used by Mr. Leat to lecture on the apparently poor ethics of his fellow colleagues. His approach to his craft rests on negativity toward anything other than his own ego and self righteousness. Many of the routines are in pre development form with the author passing only opinion regarding their viability (the promotional disappearing "Pail of Water"). Mr. Leat explains in the introduction that the book will be a vehicle for his verse/poetry (about 25% of the book), I found the remainder devoted to hypnotizing roosters and describing a con using three "dancing" mussels without their shells threaded on a piece of cotton. Now in case you consider the reviewer to be as negative as Mr. Leat I did consider the placement of a four inch dice into an empty hat with the subsequent production of a glass of wine, cigars, powder puff and a 16 inch by 12 inch cross suitably covered in flowers so as to give the appearance of a wreath which reflected a "Rakes" life and demise of some value. (Page 7) Although I read the whole book I considered going beyond page 8 was of little value.