Hocus Pocus Junior

from Steve Burton Magic

(This review was written at the beginning of June and was slated to appear in the July 1997 issue of MAGIC. Somehow it fell through the cracks. My apologies to Mr. Burton for the delay.)

Hocus Pocus Junior was published in London in 1634. It was the first fully illustrated English book devoted wholly to the explanation of the magician's craft. Much of the material in the book was drawn from Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft and Rid's Art of Juggling. The book was enormously influential, and served as the basis for magic texts for the next 300 years.

This release from Steve Burton Magic is a facsimile edition of the Henry E. Huntington Library copy of the 1634 first edition of this book. Painstaking reconstruction was required to produce this edition, since time had faded many of the original's pages. The result is a magnificent little volume, which is quite readable, once you get used to the vagaries of 17th century English.

At the end of the book Mr. Burton has added some fascinating observations on the historical importance of Hocus Pocus Junior, and offers some conjectures on the book's title and author.

This is a lovely reproduction. It is limited to 300 copies, so if you want one you'd better get it now. Highly recommended.

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