The Shmooze

Houdini's Escape From Death

By Ilan Stavans

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Extra! Extra! Houdini has done it again: he’s managed yet another fabulous trick. But this is the Big One, the one in which he comes back from the dead. Just look around: Google has adopted him for its logo; he’s on novels, Broadway shows, museums exhibits, movies, biographies, playing cards, computer games… Not bad for a humble Hungarian immigrant and the son of a rabbi who dreamed of hiding his Jewishness. Of course, posterity has done just the opposite, turning him into the ur-mentsh: all things to all people, the escape artist who could never disappear. Viva Houdini!


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