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Neo-Magic Artistry by S. H. Sharpe

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Neo-Magic Artistry
S. H. Sharpe

Edited by Todd Karr


Published 2000
432 pages
42 illustrations
Cover by Katlyn Breene
Introductory essays by Doug Henning, Jeff McBride, Vito Lupo, and Todd Karr

The inspired writings of Sam Sharpe provide a doorway for magicians to journey beyond stage illusion into the heart and soul of magic. — Jeff McBride

Follow Sharpe’s leads and you’ll discover new paths for your love of the art of magic. — Vito Lupo

Prepared by the late S. H. Sharpe, Neo-Magic Artistry combines Sharpe’s revised versions of his rare 1932 classic of magic theory, Neo-Magic, and three of his other scarce books from the 1930s, Conjured Up, Good Conjuring, and Great Magic.

Once again, Sam Sharpe will take you on his voyage through the meaning of magic and ways to transform your performances into fine art.

You’ll also find over 30 original effects, Sharpe’s autobiography, additional Sharpe essays, and the rarely-seen text of Devant’s magical drama The Supreme Test.


Foreword   Todd Karr
Introduction   Vito Lupo
A Philosophy of Wonder   Doug Henning
The Enchanted Realm   Jeff McBride
Sam Sharpe Peers into the Crystal Ball   S. H. Sharpe
Remembering and Forgetting   S. H. Sharpe

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Ode to a Magician

1. Conjuring as a Fine Art
I. The Nature of Art
II. The Nature of Conjuring
III. Critical Objections to Conjuring as an Art
IV. Showmanship
V. Order of Merit of Conjuring Effects
VI. Popularity

2. Grades of Art
I. False Art
II. Formal Art
III. Naturalistic Art
IV. Imaginative Art
V. Absolute or Abstract Conjuring

3. The Originator
I. Conjurers Classified
II. Originality
III. Systematic Invention of Effects
IV. Forms of Assistance
V. Analysis of Magical Plots
VI. New Dramatic Plots
VII. Copyright

4. Patter
I. Types of Patter
II. Types of Patter, Part Two
III. Composition of Patter
IV. Making Magic Convincing
V. Complication and Climax
VI. Tragedy and Farce
VII. Comedy in Conjuring
VIII. Comedy in Conjuring, Part Two
IX. Comedy in Conjuring, Part Three

5. The Conjurer
I. The Inventor and Manufacturer
II. The Executive Conjurer
III. Desirable Qualities in a Conjurer
IV. Mastering the Craft

6. Production
I. Necessity of a Producer
II. Advertising
III. Styles of Presentation
IV. The Magical Sketch
V. Logic
VI. Logic, Part Two
VII. Consistency
VIII. Unfounded Suspicion
IX. On Leaving the Stage
X. Dramatic Types
XI. Preparing Against a Contretemps

7. Production, Part Two
I. Programme Construction
II. Audiences
III. Choice of Apparatus
IV. More About Audiences
V. Order of Effects
VI. Surprise, Suspense, Repetition, and Transition
VII. Holding Attention
VIII. Separate Item v. Sequenced Programme
IX. Pattern Programmes
X. Incidentals

8. Production, Part Three
I. Interest
II. Stage Fright
III. Emotional Appeal
IV. Scene
V. Schools of Conjuring
VI. The Legitimate Use of Apparatus

9. Production, Part Four
I. Action
II. Sound
III. Music
IV. Sound Effects

10. The Critic
I. Constructive Criticism
II. Objects of Criticism
III. Exposure
IV. Magic and Music
V. Exposing Minor Effects
VI. Exposing Sleight-of-Hand and Stage Magic
VII. Immunity of the Artist
VIII. Better Conjuring
IX. Mediums of Exposure
X. Conclusion


Part One: Good Conjuring
I. The Essence of Magic Criticism
II. Audiences
III. Audience Mentality
IV. Conditions of Presentation
V. Variety of Methods Desirable
VI. The Elements of Magic
VII. The Magical Plot
VIII. The Dramatic Plot
IX. Fantastic and Pseudo-scientific Plots
X. Pure, Story, and Symbolic Magic

Part Two: Poems in Illusion
By Candle Light
The Nervous Card
The Invisible Silkworm
Domination of Thought
Thoughts Are Things
Mediæval Multiplication
The Bluebells

Part One: Good Conjuring
I. The Objects Used
II. Misdirection
III. Construction
IV. Characterisation
V. Technical Mastery
VI. Dramatic Ability
VII. Manner
VIII. Speed of Presentation
IX. Style
X. Magic-Artist versus Showman
XI. Summary

Part Two: Poems in Illusion
Catching The Post
Card Bubbles
Love: The Magician
The Two Jewels
Reflected Thoughts
Citizens of the World
The World’s Pearl
Poor Yorick!
Alice In Conjureland

Part One: Great Magic
II. Styles of Conjuring
III. Factual Truth versus Poetic Truth
IV. Maintaining a Balance
V. Poetic Inspiration
VI. Magician or Trickster?
VII. Wake Up, Magic!
VIII. Art and Magic in Brief

Part Two: Dramatic Conjuring
The Unravelled Knots
Royal Blood
Iron, Silver, and Gold
Coincidence — or What?
The Chrysanthemums
A Silk-Producing Tube
The Gloomy Forest
The Willow Pattern
Invisible Influence
You Know Everything
Dream Stuff
By Moonlight
The Mirror of Hereafter
Music to Enchant

Appendix 1
Devant and The Supreme Test   S. H. Sharpe
The Supreme Test   Mark Ambient and David Devant

Appendix 2
Sharpe’s Influence on Fitzkee   Todd Karr
S. H. Sharpe Comments   S. H. Sharpe

Appendix 3
Works by S. H. Sharpe


...there is much wisdom to be found in these pages, and examples so abound that only a fragment can be cited...(Sharpe) may shake you out of your complacence if you give him the opportunity.
— Jamy Ian Swiss, Genii

The book is remarkable and I could easily spend the entire column discussing it...Neo-Magic Artistry is a wonderful book and I recommend it to you...
— Mike Close, Magic

...(a) beautiful new hardbound publication.Here was a man who passionately believed that magic should and could strive to be considered alongside the fine arts.
- Anthony Owens, The Magic Circular