Histoire du Tarot

Origines - Iconographie - Symbolisme

Histoire du Tarot  

Isabelle Nadolny


Origines - Iconographie - Symbolisme


Éditions Trajectoire - 2018

cm. 27,5 x 20,5

pp. 272 with numerous colour photographs



I.S.B.N. : 978-2-84197-758-1




About the author

Trained as a historian and specialised in the history of ancient books, Isabelle Nadoly works at the French National Library where she was able to gather many of the documents that fuelled her research. She is also a tarologist, actress and storyteller. She leads workshops and conferences on the history of tarot, and performs theatrical and storytelling shows.


Book's Presentation


The history of tarot is not well known. If many books deal with the art or the meaning of tarot cards, the few historical publications which do exist are rarely read outside academic circles. Isabelle Nadolny intends to change this state of affairs by making a wide panorama of tarot through the ages available to the general public. This chronicle of tarot is accompanied by illustrations, some of them never before published, taken from the archives of the French National Library and from public or private collections.


Anyone who has ever been drawn to these simple yet mysterious cards naturally asks themselves these questions: do we really know where tarot comes from? How was it put together and why? Is it nothing more than a humble deck of cards, and if that’s the case, why did it become one of the pillars of contemporary esotericism?

Both the intrigued neophyte and the experienced tarot reader will find in these pages a detailed record of what is currently known of tarot and its history. This knowledge is based on archive documents, original iconographies, tarots decks from the past and texts. Far from imposing an immoveable view of tarot, the author presents the fruit of her research in the light of this prudent framework: this has been proved; this is probable, this is uncertain. Myriad reproductions enrich this historical presentation, not least of which are the exquisitely illumined Visconti tarot cards.

From the womb of Antiquity, where games and divination were already beginning to mingle, to the Middle Ages in which the symbolism of the colours and figures take root; from the works of the Italian Renaissance to the occultist French movement of the XIXth century, History is called upon to shed light on the tarot deck. In this magnificent book, amongst other discoveries, the author reveals the oldest tarot readings and interpretations. Drawn from the ancient depths of the history of soothsaying, some of these texts have never before been disclosed.

A cultural jewel of Europe, explore the arcana of a tarot system that spans the centuries.


To view the index of topics in French click here and here