Esoteric Symbols: The Tarot in Yeats, Eliot, and Kafka

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University Press of America, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 157 pages
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In this pioneering scholarly work on occult symbols in literature, the reader is offered a vivid look into how W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and Franz Kafka three masters of symbolic expression utilized Tarot cards in their poetry and prose. Focusing on the Tarot's ancient associations with divine knowledge, its pictorial representation of both the Jewish and Christian Cabala, and the Tarot's more recent pedestrian affiliation with the occult, June Leavitt skillfully demonstrates how Yeats, Eliot, and Kafka align themselves in their uniquely individual ways with the Tarot symbols' mapping of reality. Paying close attention to the mystical nuances of the Tarot, Ms. Leavitt shows how Tarot symbols allow for radically new readings of the texts in which they are situated, and play a transformative role in the three writers' search for God. This search remained indecisive for Kafka, resulted in Eliot's conversion to Anglo-Catholicism, and went hand in hand with Yeats' passion for pagan gods and angels. Visit the author's website at http: //www.spiritualityteaching.com."
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
TAROT SYMBOLISM IN THE MINOR ARCANA
5
MYSTICAL ANTECEDENTS OF TAROT
8
The Hermetic Magician Red Hanrahan
17
ICONS OF THE MYSTICAL JOURNEY
18
THE ICON OF DEATH
29
DEATH AND DIVINE KNOWLEDGE
31
TAROT SYMBOLS AND ULTIMATE SIGNIFICANCE
34
The Tarot in Kafka
60
DISCERNIBLE TAROT ICONS
64
DISCERNING ELUSIVE TAROT SYMBOLS
76
THE HUNT FOR THE MOST ELUSIVE TAROT SYMBOL IN AMERIKA
82
THE TAROT IN KAFKA AND LITERARY CRITICISM
86
Tarot and the Spiritual Autobiography of TS Eliot
93
The Psychic Symbols of Franz Kafka
106
Tarot and the Masked Life of WB Yeats
127

The Cards in Madame Sosostriss Hand An Empty Sign System
37
READING EMPTY SIGNS
40
READING THE REAL CARDS IN MADAME SOSOSTRISS HAND
48
A NEW READING OF THE WASTE LAND
51
Putting All the Cards on the Table
142
Bibliography
149
Index
153
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

June Leavitt is an independent scholar and writer who has received much critical acclaim for her books and articles. She is the creator of a college course on spirituality in literature that she has taught at the Overseas Students Program at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

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