Lapham’s Quarterly Summer 2012: Magic Shows

19 Jun 2012 – Cue song “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees.

monkee (Photo credit: lamont_cranston)

At this time I haven’t looked past the cover of the new issue.  I do know from the introductory email it “delves into mankind’s predilection through the millennia for the marvelous, the mysterious, and the supernatural”.

Since the beginning of time mankind seems to have had a propensity for wanting to look beyond the facts at hand, or lack thereof, and believe.  One must have faith in the unknown we are told.  Perhaps that is what Magic Shows is about.  Will it make monkeys of us?

I recently re-read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.  I’m curious to see if he appears.

Three sections in Voices In Time: Sorcery, Metamorphosis, and Visitations.  Alas no Eric Hoffer, but no Jesus, Mohammed, or Buddha either.  The topic isn’t religion, is it.  The usual pantheon of noteworthy writers are present.  David Hume, J.R.R. Tolkien, St. Augustine, Bram Stoker, Homer, Thomas Paine, Harry Houdini, Herman Hesse, and Euripides, to name a few.

27 June.  I will jot some bullet points as I read: [Titles with links WERE available to the public by Lapham’s Quarterly.  Since they changed the website format 2015-16 you will have to search to see if they are still there. JH-Aug. 2016]

Voices in Time


  • Teller’s Seven Laws of Magic: 2012 / Las Vegas
  •    Magic secrets from the silent member of the Penn and Teller duo.  Words to live by: “#6. Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself.  #7. If you are given a choice, you believe you have acted freely.” (p. 24)
  • Steven Millhauser Sets the Stage: c. 1898 / Vienna
  •    Excellent fictional story of a 19th century prestidigitator and illusionist.  The movie The Illusionist is loosely based on it.  The complete short story is available online and well worth reading.
  • Corpse Orders: c. 700 / China
  •    Instructions for summoning the dead.  [Don’t leave home without them. -JH]
  • Excitable Boy: 1533 / Rome
  •    Summoning demons, and perhaps a secret trick to disperse them.
  • A Witch’s Nipple: 1979 / London
  •    Folklore fiction with wolf, grandmother, and child.  The Quarterly is off to a good start.  How will it raise the bar?
  • Merlin Makes His Mark: c. 1470 / London

8 Sep 2012.  Finished at last.  As I said, the facts aren’t good enough.  Neither is knowing that you don’t know.  We must believe in something outside of ourselves.  Oh ye of little faith (in yourself).  Ye definitely haven’t read any Ayn Rand.

Stage Light: by Andrew McConnell Stott
   Superb article on Phillipe Jacques de Loutherberg, an 18th century painter and theater set designer.  An excellent finale to the summer quarterly.

Even after all this it’s still magic.  Get your freebie peeks and extras here:

This index will change when the Fall issue is published soon.  Do yourself a favor and subscribe.  I read most of this issue online but I still love holding the printed word of the hard copy edition.

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