GENERAL INTEREST

PUBLISHER
D.A.P.

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 7 x 9.5 in. / 224 pgs / 165 color / 370 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2019 p. 13   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781942884378 TRADE
List Price: $35.00 CDN $49.95

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

London, UK
Wellcome Collection, 04/11/19–09/15/19

BROWSE THE 2019 SPRING CATALOG

Check out our Spring 2019 catalog, featuring more than 500 new books on art & culture. We welcome new publishers Arquine, Atelier Éditions, August Editions, The Design Museum, London, Eakins Press, Editions Patrick Frey, Fulgur Press, Kasmin, Lisson Gallery, Marciano Art Foundation, Marsilio Editori, Onomatopee and Ridinghouse to our list in 2019!

  

D.A.P.

The Spectacle of Illusion

Deception, Magic and the Paranormal

By Matthew L. Tompkins.

Featured image is reproduced from 'The Spectacle of Illusion.'

The tricks and props of magic and spiritualism: how magicians and psychics fooled the world—and what scientists can learn from them
In The Spectacle of Illusion, professional magician-turned experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins investigates the arts of deception as practised and popularised by mesmerists, magicians and psychics since the early 18th century. Organised thematically within a broadly chronological trajectory, this compelling book explores how illusions perpetuated by magicians and fraudulent mystics can not only deceive our senses but also teach us about the inner workings of our minds. Indeed, modern scientists are increasingly turning to magic tricks to develop new techniques to examine human perception, memory and belief. Beginning by discussing mesmerism and spiritualism, the book moves on to consider how professional magicians such as John Nevil Maskelyne and Harry Houdini engaged with these movements – particularly how they set out to challenge and debunk paranormal claims. It also relates the interactions between magicians, mystics and scientists over the past 200 years, and reveals how the researchers who attempted to investigate magical and paranormal phenomena were themselves deceived, and what this can teach us about deception. Highly illustrated throughout with entertaining and bizarre drawings, double-exposure spirit photographs and photographs of spoon-bending from hitherto inaccessible and un-mined archives, including the Wellcome Collection, the Harry Price Library, the Society for Physical Research, and last but not least, the Magic Circle’s closely guarded collection, the book also features newly commissioned photography of planchettes, rapping boards, tilting tables, ectoplasm, automata and illusion boxes. Concluding with a modern-day analysis of the science of magic and illusion, analysing surprisingly weird phenomena such as ideomotor action, sleep paralysis, choice blindness and the psychology of misdirection, this unnerving volume highlights how unreliable our minds can be, and how complicit they can be in the perpetuation of illusions.


Featured image is reproduced from 'The Spectacle of Illusion.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Andy Nyman

‘Spectacle of Illusion’ is a remarkable book. Even if you didn't read a single word of this book, the remarkable images, seem to lift a lid on the Magic world. This book both reveals the inner workings of the extraordinary and yet seems to keep all it’s secrets too. It’s wonderful.

The Spectacle of Illusion

in stock  $35.00


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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/19/2019

Mind-unbending 'Spectacle of Illusion' excerpted in the 'Financial Times.' Pre-order now!

Mind-unbending 'Spectacle of Illusion' excerpted in the 'Financial Times.' Pre-order now!

This weekend, the Financial Times published a major excerpt from our forthcoming book, The Spectacle of Illusion, magician-turned-experimental-psychologist Matthew L. Tompkins's riveting investigation of deception, magic and the paranormal from the eighteenth-century until now. Mesmerism, hypnotism, seances, spirit photographs, trance drawings, automata, trick photography, sleight of hand, ghost hunting, levitation, ectoplasmic ejaculations, ESP and many other tricks and practices are discussed in this fascinating exposé of our will to be deceived. "While neither magicians nor scientists can ever really 'prove' that past testimonials of supernatural phenomena are fraudulent or mistaken, contemporary researchers regularly demonstrate how eccentricities of healthy human perception, memory and cognition can result in vivid and robust illusions," Tompkins writes. "In many cases, scientific explanations of how our minds can produce such illusions are at least as wondrous as the proposed supernatural explanations… Indeed, some scientists are increasingly turning to magic as a tool to explore how sane, intelligent individuals can experience remarkably weird illusory episodes." Featured image, of a young girl operating a planchette, is from the collection of magician William Marriott. continue to blog


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