Out of Africa: tarot's fascination with Egypt

Farley, Helen S. (2011) Out of Africa: tarot's fascination with Egypt. Literature and Aesthetics, 21 1: 175-195.

Author Farley, Helen S.
Title Out of Africa: tarot's fascination with Egypt
Journal name Literature and Aesthetics
ISSN 1036-9368
Publication date 2011-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 21
Issue 1
Start page 175
End page 195
Total pages 21
Place of publication Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publisher Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Mention ‘tarot’ and images of an exotic and mysterious gypsy fortune-teller spring unbidden to consciousness. Dark eyes flashing, she reveals the trumps one at a time, each a strange portent, preternaturally speaking of life, love, loss, and death. The gypsies, themselves enigmatic and of uncertain origin, were allegedly charged with carrying the tarot deck from a doomed Egyptian priesthood with the forethought to encode their most esoteric secrets in a game, a seemingly harmless pastime. How often have we heard that tarot‟s difficult birth occurred in an Egypt ancient and mystical? And though tarot scholars have known about the real origins of the deck in the Renaissance court of a northern Italian city for some two hundred years, still that link with Egypt remains obdurate. This beguiling myth, never convincingly verified by its perpetrators, began in the desire for pseudo-legitimacy through an ancient – though false – lineage and the dogged persistence of a pre-Rosetta infatuation with all things Egyptian. This article explores the origins of this persistent belief.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
Available Versions of this Record
  • Out of Africa: tarot's fascination with Egypt (Current Record)
  • Tarot and egyptomania Book Chapter (deposited 02-04-2014)
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Created: Wed, 02 Apr 2014, 13:20:35 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry