I received notification about this extremely interesting book via the Contact Us button. [Good to see that folk are already making use of it but if you really want to increase the spped and certainty of getting something mentioned on pQ.com then register and use the Quick Links to submit your own news items.] I will endeavour to find out some more about it but in the meantime here is the backgrounder from one of the authors.
The Book of English Magic is a 562 page hardback book which will be published by John Murray on 11th June 2009.
The image of the magician is exciting and tantalising, and familiar to us all. Think of Merlin or Gandalf and we think of excitement, mystery and adventure. But what do we feel or even know about real magicians – those figures who throughout history have practiced the kind of magic that for centuries was a forbidden art?
For reasons that will become clear as The Book of English Magic unfolds, England has fostered the greatest variety of magicians in all the world, including not only the delightfully eccentric, but also figures who have played significant roles in the development of the arts and sciences.
Secretly we would all probably like to know a magician, or perhaps be one. And – extraordinary as it may seem – there has never been a greater opportunity to fulfil either of these ambitions, since there are now more practising wizards in England than at any other time in her history. Some will see this as an example of the triumph of irrationalism, others as evidence of a rebirth in an understanding of the world that is only now being touched upon by the most advanced physicists and cosmologists.
Whatever your beliefs about magic, this book is designed to introduce you to some of the most interesting contemporary practitioners of magic, and to many of the most important figures in the magical world of previous centuries. And to help you begin experiencing for yourself the world of magic and enchantment that has succeeded in intriguing generations of seekers, this comprehensive survey of English magic includes a rich menu of magical things to do and places to visit.