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DEAN, Henry.

The Whole Art of Legerdemain: or Hocus Pocus in Perfection.

By which the meanest Capacity may perform the Whole Art without a Teacher. Together with the Use of all the Instruments belonging thereto. To which is now added, Abundance of New and Rare Inventions, the like never before in Print but much desired by many. The Seventh Edition, with large Additions and Amendments.

London : for L. Hawes and Co. and S. Crowder, and R. Ware and Co., 1772 Stock Code: 107439
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A remarkably fresh copy of an early edition of by far the "best-known 18th-century book on conjuring", first published in 1722 (Pierson, p. 31). The work provides a detailed guide on how to conduct various tricks including "how to make a cat draw a fellow through a pond of water" and "how to cause the beer you drink to be wrung out of the handle of a knife".

In a forthcoming study of the book, Edwin Dawes and Clay Shevlin suggest that all copies of the L. Hawes and Co., et al., London "seventh edition", whether dated 1763 or 1772, are one and the same edition (see ESTC T127028 for copies of the "1763" seventh), and that the whole edition almost certainly was published in 1772. At some point during printing, the dating error was recognized and a stop-press correction was made to the date in the imprint.

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Duodecimo. Original schoolbook-style canvas, unlettered.


Woodcut frontispiece, woodcut illustrations of magic tricks in the text.


Small ink inscription on frontispiece blank recto. Canvas lightly rubbed, sig. E7 with slight paper loss at upper outer corner, including page numeral and a letter either side, the sense easily guessed; this the only flaw in what is otherwise a superb copy in the original binding, rare thus.


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