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Magic of Robert-Houdin by Christian Fechner

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The Magic of Robert-Houdin: An Artist's Life
Christian Fechner

Edited by Todd Karr


Published 2003
Two volumes with slipcase
863 pages
Over 1200 illustrations
60 color pages
Cover by Jean-Guy Fechner
Preface by Jacques Voignier

In one of the most elegant magic books ever produced, Christian Fechner explores the incredible world of Robert-Houdin, the legendary master of magic. Fechner has uncovered the story behind the scenes of Robert-Houdin's life, magic, and writings and illustrated his discoveries with hundreds of rare photos, playbills, and other treasures.

This extraordinary work is bound in rich Dutch cloth with gilded stamping, glossy covers, archival slipcase, and a ribbon bookmark bound into each copy, and includes a large tipped-in reproduction Robert-Houdin print and fold-out family tree.


INTRODUCTION   Jacques Voignier

1700-1805: From Louis Robert to Jean Eugène Robert
1805-1823: A Confiscated Childhood and Adolescence
1823-1825: From Dr. Carlosbach to Maître Pardessus
1825-1828: From Maître Roger to Jean-Martin Robert
1826-1828: The Apprenticeship of the Artisan Watchmaker and the Aspiring Magician
The Mysterious M. David of Bordeaux
1828: The Count de Grisy, French Conjurer, known as Torrini
1828-1829: Return to Blois, Mademoiselle Houdin
Notes to Act I

1830: Paris, Here I Come
1830: Father Roujol
1809-1833: M. Comte, The King’s Conjurer
1800-1832: Olivier, Conjuring Professor of Paris
1830: A Marriage of Love During the July Revolution
1831: The First Son
1831: 1832 – The Componium
1832-1835: A Long Depression
1833: Giovani Bartolomeo Bosco
1835-1836: The Fall of the House of Houdin
1837-1844: The Mechanician and the Watchmaker
1837-1844: The Salon Conjurer
1842: The Little Parisian Curiosity Shows
1843: Philippe Talon, known as Philippe
1840-1846: Vaucanson’s Duck, Von Kempelen’s Chess Player, and Robert-Houdin’s Writing and Drawing Automaton
1843-1844: A Cascade of Mourning and A New Marriage
1844: The Exposition and Phineas Taylor Barnum
Notes to Act II

1844-1845: The Big Leap
1845: The Secret Machinery of the Theater
1845: Robert-Houdin’s Soirées Fantastiques
1845-1846: Second Sight and The Inexhaustible Bottle
1846: First Foreign Tour and the Conjurer Louis Courtois
1845-1852: Promotion and Advertising
1847: The Fortune-Teller Alexis Didier
1847-1848: The Ethereal Suspension
1848: Moreau-Sainti – André Voisin
1848-1849: Revolution in France and Triumphs in England
1849-1851: Return to Paris; Pierre Etienne August Chocat, known as Hamilton
1850: The English Connection or the Legrand Trial
1851: Letter on Education; Shows and Children
1851: Roberti de Brescia, De Linsky, Deveaux, Berneuil, and The Electric Light
1852: Farewell, My Dear Parisians
1852-1853: The Final Flames
Notes to Act III

1852-1854: Hamilton: From Palais-Royal to Boulevard des Italiens
1854: The Photographer André Adolphe Disdéri
1854-1855: Emile and Eugène Robert-Houdin – The Exposition of 1855
1856: The Electric Clock of Blois — Robert-Houdin Becomes a Patronym
1856: Robert-Houdin’s Algerian Saga
1856: Goodbye to the Stage in Marseilles
1857-1858: The Writing of Confidences d’un Prestidigitateur
1858-1859: Raphaël Macaluso, Alfred de Caston, Klosloge, and De Lille
1854-1871: The Myth of “Rest at The Priory”
1859-1871: Les Tablettes journalières of Robert-Houdin
1859-1861: Small and Large Magic Activities in Saint-Gervais
1859-1861: The “Geraud affair” and The “Lassaigne affair”
1860: Mlle. Benita Anguinet
1859-1860: Robert-Houdin and Amateurs Magicians
1860: Alexander Heimbürger
1861: Card-Sharping Exposed and Les Figures du temps
1862: Hamilton and Pierre Edouard Brunnet
1862-1863: The Shop and Wedding of Emile Robert-Houdin
1862: An Unexpected Comeback
1863-1864: François Eugène Lahire, known as Cleverman
1864: Return to The Priory and Robin’s Mythomania
1865: The Davenport Brothers and The Stacey Brothers
Notes to Act IV

1864-1866: The Common Clock, The Electric Light Bulb with a Vegetal Filament, The Musical Telegraph, and Ophthalmology
1864-1866: The Harpsichord or Tympanum Player
1866: A Peaceful Year – The Sphinx and The Talking Head
1866: Hamilton, Cleverman, and Plantet – Tufferau, Littson, Varner, Lynn, and Alfred Stodare
1867-1868: The Chess Player or La Czarine, and Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation
1869: The Grand Affair, The Odometer, and Dr. Epstein
1870: The Year of All Sorrows
1870-1871: The Occupation of Saint-Gervais and Blois during the War of 1870 Described Daily by Robert-Houdin
1871: The Master’s Last Days
1871: Last Farewell Performance
Notes to Act V

Appendix I: The Priory by Robert-Houdin followed by notes taken from a lecture by Eglantine Lemaître Robert-Houdin and complementary notes by the author
Appendix II: Texts and biographies written by Robert-Houdin and published in Le Grand Dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle by Pierre Larousse
Genealogical Chart