"The best general theory of magic we have yet in any literature" - Dr. Lawrence Hass
It is difficult to penetrate the indefatigable mind of Bob Neale. To assist in the effort and with Bob’s blessing and in consultation with Lawrence Hass, Dean of McBride’s Magic and Mystery School, Geoff Grimes and Mike Smith began in 2016 to identify and index 13 essential themes that emerge in his 18 books and 1 DVD, ranging from In Praise of Play (1969) to Breaking Our Magic Wands (2017).
The completed index was presented for the first time to Bob and the international magic community on October 24, 2018, at the McBride Magic and Mystery School “Magic and Meaning Conference” in Las Vegas, NV. While there are additional "themes" or motifs that run throughout Bob's many books and articles, the following we believe are certainly major ones if not the most essential. In any case, they will provide any serious student of magic with specific entries into core concepts of Bob's sweeping, all-encompassing theory of magic in human experience.
The Thirteen Themes
The Trickster Spirit
Paul Pruyser’s Three Worlds Perspective
Psychological Classification of Magic
The Ethical heart of Spiritual Illusions: “The Four Falls”
Life and Death and . . .
Just a word about what we are not attempting to do in this index and why:
1) We are not attempting to introduce Bob’s works. This has been done in his three volumes, Trilogy of Magic. 2) Neither are we attempting to interpret/criticize Bob’s thoughts. 3) Finally, we haven’t extended our analysis into the hundreds of performance pieces, published in his many books, lecture notes, articles, and so on.
What we have done is 1) introduce Bob, as a person, 2) provide a selected bibliography, and 3) list the thirteen themes (and sub-themes) we believe best capture Neale’s “general theory of magic.”
Remember that an index is a section of a book or article that provides a list of subjects in printed works with the page number where each subject can be found. This is helpful if you want to focus in on one or more of the themes (or sub-themes).
To see the full 22 page index, select the link below:
Robert Neale (left) and Lawrence Haas dining at the 2018 Magic and Meaning Conference, Las Vegas, NV