For those interested in how magic is being written about and studied by academic scholars - across cultural-historical studies mainly - some brilliant books have come out over the last decade or two.
Here are some of the titles I have read, or simply spotted, ordered by date:
- James W. Cook, The Arts of Deception: Playing with Fraud in The Age of Barnum (2001)
- Simon During, Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic (2004)
- Philipp Butterworth, Magic on the Early English Stage (2005)
- Michael Mangan, Performing Dark Arts: A Cultural History of Conjuring (2007)
- Coppa, Hass & Peck eds, Performing Magic on The Western Stage: From The Eighteenth Century to The Present (2008)
-Chris Goto-Jones, Conjuring Asia: Magic, Orientalism and The Making of the Modern World (2016)
On the relation between magic and cinema, see:
- Karen Beckman, Vanishing Women: Magic, Film and Feminism (2003)
- Matthew Solomon, Disappearing Tricks: Silent Film, Houdini, and The New Magic of The Twentieth Century (2010)
- Colin Williamson, Hidden In Plain Sight: An Archaeology of Magic and The Cinema (2015)
There are also brilliant free articles in the University of Huddersfield's Journal of Performance Magic.
And lastly, though not an academic study, I want to flag the recent book by A.Bandit, the name for the collaboration between conceptual artist Glenn Kaino and current Broadway magic star Derek Delguadio. It features great artworks and interesting interviews with John Baldessarri, Ricky Jay, Marina Abramovic, Teller (my fave), and others.
- Glenn Kaino and Derek Delgaudio, A Secret Has Two Faces: The Collaborative Work of Glenn Kaino and Derek Delgaudio (2017)
Enjoy the academic study of magic