Friday, 28 May 2010

New book - "Explaining the Tarot"



Explaining the Tarot: Two Italian Renaissance Essays on the Meaning of the Tarot Pack

edited, translated and commented by
Ross Sinclair Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis, Marco Ponzi



The symbolism of Tarot cards has intrigued people for five centuries. In this volume, two Italian authors of the 16th century, one known, the other anonymous, interpret the meaning of the Tarot trumps and the suit cards from a variety of interesting perspectives. Drawing from philosophy, religion, poetry, contemporary science, and the rules of the game itself, while at the same time offering examples from history and current events, the authors describe a series of images that for them is more than a game. They find that the symbolism of the cards, and their order, offer moral lessons and a wholesome guide to the ultimate purpose of life, which is to seek God. Their two discourses on the symbolism of the Tarot cards, here edited and translated into English for the first time, are the earliest ever written, and offer a rare glimpse into the other side of the game of Tarot in its first centuries – the meanings people saw in the pictures on the cards.

ISBN 978-0-9562370-1-9
72pp paperback
Price £7.00

http://www.maproom.co.uk/publications/


I hope everyone will find something of interest in these two fascinating texts, which we have commented upon to the best of our ability.

Ross

6 comments:

Michael J. Hurst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael J. Hurst said...

Fantastic!

Got it in the mail today and am enjoying it tremendously.

Moakley's interpretation from the mid 1950s stood for over a half century as the best ever published. I think that has changed with the publication of the anonymous essay from the mid 1560s.

Thank you, guys, for the many many hours of work involved in producing this invaluable translation, and its notes. It was worth it.

Best regards,
Michael

belmurru said...

Great, Michael!

That's high praise for an interpretation - better than Moakley!

I think most people will agree with you, that Anonymous is more interesting than Piscina. What is also interesting is the extent of the manuscript's diffusion - as far apart as Paris, Vienna and Rome. It seems that from the late 16th into the early 17th centuries, there were quite a few people interested in this allegorical interpretation of the Tarot.

I'm very happy you are enjoying reading it - finally both documents see the light they deserve.

Ross

belmurru said...

BTW - did you get the comparative chart PDF?

Michael J. Hurst said...

Hi, Ross,

Yes. I sent Marco a note on Monday, when I got the PDF, congratulating him on the book but mainly writing to say how much I like the analytical presentation in the side-by-side comparison. It's very well thought-out and presented. I even scrunched it up (compressed some of the white space) a bit in a graphics program so that it would better fit on a legal-sized page, the better to mark it up with colored highlighters.

I always find schematic presentations helpful, and they're even better when someone else does them for me!

There are a number of remarkable aspects to these texts, and it is great to have them both. THIS is the kind of thing that was going on in people's minds when they were revising the deck from one locale to another. THIS is the kind of thinking that resulted in different orderings and varied iconographies. And this is the kind of thinking that I've been presenting for ten years now. Does that give you an indication how much I love this little book?

Best regards,
Michael

belmurru said...

Hi Michael,

Excellent - I'm as enthusiastic as you are about Marco's schematic.

I lobbied hard to get it included in the book, but it is best in color, and reducing it by 10% (to fit it on currently blank page 34, for instance) made it uncomfortably small to read. A sideways, double-page version was inelegant, and ultimately would have required 4 additional pages - and again, it would not be in color.

I agree very much with your insight that this kind of thinking reflects that which went into creating the different orders and iconographies.

Best regards,

Ross