Tarot and Other Meditation Decks

History, Theory, Aesthetics, Typology


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About the Book

Hundreds of new Tarot decks have been produced in the late twentieth century, many of them based on the structure and images of Arthur Waite and artist Pamela Smith’s Rider-Waite deck (1910). The continuing popularity and influence of the Rider-Waite deck makes it a standard for identifying, categorizing and analyzing contemporary Tarot and other meditation decks.
This work of art history analyzes such decks in relation to conventional art styles and movements, including Symbolism, Surrealism, the modernist “grid” and the low/high value hierarchy, and postmodern art movements and concepts such as the dissolution of the modernist value hierarchy, Pattern and Decoration art, and collage. It also examines them in relation to literary concepts, including the novel, utopias, and popular genres. The author’s analysis is supported by numerous illustrations, including the Rider-Waite major arcana cards juxtaposed with examples of their counterparts from more recent decks.

About the Author(s)

Emily E. Auger (Ph.D.) has graduate degrees in History in Art and English Literature from the University of Victoria and has taught art history in Canadian and American universities for over twenty years. Her monographs include The Way of Inuit Art: Aesthetics in and Beyond the Arctic (2005) and Tarot and Other Mediation Decks: History, Theory, Aesthetics (2004). She is a contributor to the anthology King Arthur in Popular Culture (2002) and has published papers on interlace and Alan Lee’s Lord of the Rings’ illustrations, genre and Pre-Raphaelitism in Lady Audley’s Secret, and other subjects.

Bibliographic Details

Emily E. Auger

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 156 photos, tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1674-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8304-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      ix
Introduction      1

1. Tarot and Visual Art      13
2. Tarot and Literature 53
3. Tarot as Tarot 89

Conclusion      143
Notes      147
Tarot Decks Cited      161
Meditation Decks Cited      167
Appendix      169
Bibliography      193
Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“a unique and specialized art history…unusual, fascinating, seminal, and very highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review.