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Art of entertaining by giving the illusion of performing impossible feats. The conjurer is an actor who combines psychology, manual dexterity, and mechanical aids to effect the desired illusion. The form was established by the medieval era, when traveling conjurers performed at fairs and in the homes of the nobility. In the 19th–20th centuries, conjuring was performed on stage by magicians such as Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, Harry Houdini, and Harry Blackstone. In the late 20th century magicians such as Doug Henning and David Copperfield performed colourful spectacles on television, while the postmodern team Penn and Teller offered a quieter brand of magic that emphasized irony and illusion.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on conjuring, visit Britannica.com.