Cartomancy and Tarot in Film 1940–2010
Bristol, UK: Intellect, May 2016
- Hardcover ISBN 9781783203314
- University of Chicago Press (distributor) Website
- Intellect (publisher) Website
- Purchase on amazon. ca
- Purchase on amazon.com
- View postcard
- Goodreads Review by Richard Kaczynski
- Facing North Review by Elizabeth Hazel
Cartomancy and Tarot in Film 1940–2010 addresses divination in general and cartomancy in particular, contextualizes cartomancy with playing and Tarot cards historically, and shows some of the ideas about cartomancy invented or promulgated in film.
Part One provides general introductions to divination, playing cards, and Tarot. In the opening chapter, the history of Western divination is briefly traced from ancient Greece to the present, with note taken of such matters as the varying relationships between diviners and divination and state or church authorities, and the impact of commodification during the eighteenth century and later on cartomancy. Chapter 2 is a concise history of playing cards, with special attention given to their use for cartomancy and the character and card narrative prototypes established in Alexander Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades” (1834) and Prosper Mérimee’s Carmen (1845-46). Chapter 3 is a short history of Tarot cards, from their invention as a specialized gaming deck to their popularization and commodification as a tool for divination.
Part Two shows the accepted representations of cartomancers, cartomancy, and cards that have accrued in film. Chapter 4 begins with an analysis of the cartomancer and querent as film characters using their counterparts in Carmen as points of comparison with reference to gender, age, marital status, and professionalism, as well as supernatural abilities or beliefs, social liminality, and relative nomadism. Chapter 5 is a consideration of cartomancy scenes and their narrative roles, giving special attention to Tarot and referencing such matters as the relative prominence of the cartomancer and querent, the locations marked by the cards and where the cards are read, and the use of the cards to create ambiance and as genre-related and thematic motifs. Chapter 6 addresses the Tarot trumps with a brief summary of the historical meanings attached to each and a longer summary of the meanings or uses of each card in film.</Text>
The bibliography, indexes, and appendixes follow. Appendix 1 includes 193 films, two of which are not indexed because I was either unable to view them in their entirety or did not have a complete translation available. One-hundred and fifty of these 191 films incorporate Tarot trumps.
An extended filmography (which simply could not be fit into Intellect's generous 400 page allowance) is available as A Filmography of Cartomancy and Tarot 1940–2010 (Valleyhome Books, 2016) print-on-demand LuluBooks.