In 1995, two celebrated philosophers of magic, Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale, wrote a book that examined the psychological, symbolic and spiritual roots of theatrical conjuring. The result was a work brimming with new ideas that set readers’ heads spinning and revealed a way of thinking about performing magic that is at the same time ancient and revolutionary.
For years MAGIC AND MEANING has been out of print and much sought after. This new edition contains the original work in its entirety plus two added essays, one by each author, adding 34 pages in which they reflect and expand on the intended message of their writings.
MAGIC AND MEANING EXPANDED is not a book for the timid, the hidebound or the unimaginative. It is a book with the purpose of opening new vistas for the performance and presentation of Real Magic! It explores how magic does and always has permeated our lives-how magic serves profound needs for humanity-and how theatrical conjuring, as a part of the magical tradition, is something far less trivial than the average conjurer realizes.
MAGIC AND MEANING EXPANDED is a serious attempt to establish a philosophy of conjuring, one that motivates and vitalizes the performer of mysteries and his performances. Burger and Neale have distinct voices, which occasionally disagree, but they approach their topic from similar directions, ultimately arriving at a harmonious world-view of magic as both entertainment and something much more. Their views, opinions and arguments are genuinely revolutionary and insightful. They are also “inciteful”; that is, they are sure to raise heated debate in the conjuring community. Those hot debaters would do well, though, to read carefully, for the thoughts contained in this book are often complex and subtle. Robert E. Neale seasons this philosophical brew with seven tricks. These tricks and their novel presentations are used to illustrate his method of instilling magic with meaning. Of them Dr. Neale writes, “They may be upsetting to some. They should be upsetting to all.”
Many magicians, amateur and professional alike, perform blind, with little or no understanding of the powerful emotional and symbolic elements that lie inherent but generally unused in their work. Employing a wide range of disciplines-including literature, anthropology, philosophy, religion, myth and film-Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale explore these important components that rest at the very soul of magic.
Pages 238 – Hardcover with Dust Jacket