( England and the United States: 1932-Present)
The Tarot Fool has a major role in five American or English novels in the twentieth century.
Charles Williams 1932 novel The Greater Trumps is the earliest fictional reflection (in any but an incidental way) of the tarot. Williams was a member of the Golden Dawn, an acquaintance of Aleister Crowley, the deviser of the Thoth tarot deck, and a friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and T. S. Eliot. His fascination for the occult, nearly mystic Christian sympathies, and involvement with the leading fantasists of the early twentieth century were to prove rich sources for his books.
The plot of The Greater Trumps is relatively simple. Lothair Coningsby, a stodgy, conservative egotist, inherits from a friend the original tarot cards (not the fifteenth-century Visconti-Sforza deck, but the "true originals"). Henry Lee, who is engaged to Coningsby's daughter, Nancy, is aware of their powers because his Gypsy family holds a great secret: seventy-eight golden figures who weave through an elaborate self-generated dance and are the mystical doubles of the tarot cards. Henry wants Coningsby's cards, for with that deck and the golden figures, magic of the highest power may be wrought. Since Coningsby will not give up the deck, Henry steals it and sets loose a snowstorm on Coningsby. Nancy surprises Henry, who drops some of the cards, loosing an even