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Memoirs of Robert-Houdin, ambassador, author, and conjuror (1859) PDF book

Memoirs of Robert-Houdin, ambassador, author, and conjuror (1859) by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin

Memoirs of Robert-Houdin


Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (7 December 1805 – 13 June 1871) was a French watchmaker, magician, and illusionist, widely recognized as the father of the modern style of conjuring. He transformed magic from a pastime for the lower classes, seen at fairs, to entertainment for the wealthy, which he offered in a theatre opened in Paris, a legacy preserved by the tradition of modern

In my humble capacity of the translator of Robert- Houdin's life, I may be permitted to make one or two remarks, and answer in anticipation of the objections which I feel confident will be raised.
In the first place, I am perfectly well aware that this English copy of Houdini's book will strike many of my readers as even more Gallicised than the original; but I beg to assure them I have produced this impression from malice prepense. It would have been a very easy task for me to have made the book thoroughly English, but I feel, had I done so, it would have been as flat as yesterday's champagne. The great merit of the book, to my mind, is the intense belief M. Houdin has in his mission, and though no Englishman would write of himself in such a satisfied tone, I am firmly convinced that the arch-conjuror is actuated by the same feelings which induced Vatel to fall on his sword because the fish did not arrive in time. Death before disgrace ! is apparently Houdin's motto. Granting this indulgence for his " brave 'words," I thought it much better to present him to my readers as a real Frenchman, and not to endeavor to array him in an English garb, in which he would have been a non- descript.

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