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Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682

hi Coredil,

actually you had a remark in your text, which I didn't noticed before, and therefore I found your contribution very worthwhile (about a possible reason, how the error about the 9 connected to "birth of mankind" might have occurred in Wicked Pack of Cards).


I attempt to write a summary:

An important information is still missing: DDD gives an information about a 66 cards divination deck from 1790, which shall have influenced a part of the Petit Oracle des Dames, the other part is given as influence of the first Etteilla deck from 1788. It naturally would be worthwhile to know that. Information about it should be given in the catalog of an 1989 exhibition, Depaulis: Les cart de la Révolution: cartes à jouer et propaganda, Issy-les-Moulineaux.
Further it might be of interest to see the Mme Finet decks, though I'm skeptic, if this will really improve much.

I've given material to 5 partly fragmented decks, from which two belong to the Etteilla Nouvel or Petit Nécromancien (with 36 cards only) development. The earlier Kaplan fragment might be from another strange variant of the Petit Oracle, but it's framented state doesn't allow judgment. Two decks of the 5 confirm each other in the version of 1807. But1807 shouldn't be the original.

Stephen and and me have made some dating exploration, and we found various advertisements for the deck since 1800.
Our online discussion about it took place ...
... and BEFORE this page, starting at ...
.. in POST #146

Inside the discussion we once had the opinion, that the Petit Oracle des Dames existed already in 1797, but it turned out to be a google-error about the calendar of the revolution.
As "oldest advertisement" (for the moment) we have:

inside an announcement content:

I found then these "real announcements":

30 Nivose, an 8 should be 19th of January 1800
... so very short after a new century (19th century) had started. Silvester is always a good time to sell divination decks.

PAGE 115


I found another entry in the following year, this time referring to Gueffier:

I searched for the right book and for page 141: NEGATIVE at Google

15 Pluviose, an 9 should be 4th of February 1801

PAGE 141


In the following year 1802 a lot of entries about the Petit Oracle des Dames exist, makes it easy to find some ...
... though not all. Other requests often lead to other results not included before.

Another year with much advertisement is 1806, possibly there appeared an improved edition (?), also 1820, 1827 and 1841 might be interesting.

Of special value is the information, that these early cards already had the right numbers, 42 cards and 72 /74 pictures. This possibly confirms, that the deck of 1807 is relative near to the version of 1800.
Already in 1801 the name "Gueffier" appears in the advertisements, though it appears not in the first document.

In an advertisement collection given by Fleischer in 1802 the following three notes appear:

This text, from the year 1802, "Annuaire de la Librairie" by Wilhelm Fleischer presents an object with the name "Le Petit Nécromancien" and we know, that according Depaulis in c. 1810 an object is addressed, which was a card deck (36 cards) with similarities to the Petit Oracle des Dames.
Further is advertised an card deck with 42 "tableaux", and we know that the Petit Oracle des Dames decks have also 42 cards.

The whole possibly indicates, that one publisher (likely from Bordeaux) or "auteur" manufactured all three decks "with similarities" in a creative output, and threw them all around the same time on the market.

Under this condition not only the date of the Petit Oracle des Dames (1807) must be corrected, but also the date for the Petit Nécromancien (1810).

Well, I've difficulties to verify the given reference to "CH. Pougens". The text is at google, but it is a chaos.


The Parisian publisher "Barba", above twice noted, is described here ...
But no career more vividly illustrates the evolution of key publishers from theater to the novel over the revolutionary period than that of Jean-Nicolas Barba. Barba first appeared in the Palais Royal in 1791, where he took over the fledgling establishment of two old members of the Paris Book Guild, Jean-Nicolas Duchesne and Théodore Dabo.[105] He also bought the huge stock of theater titles that Maradan was forced to sell after his bankruptcy in 1790.[106] Between 1795 and 1799 Barba registered thirty-eight works at the dépôt . His first deposit was Charles-Pierre Ducancel's Thermidorean drama L'Intérieur des comités révolutionnaires . All of his titles were in theater, ranging from serious tragedies like Marie-Joseph Chénier's Azémire or the theatrical rendering of Voltaire's great anticlerical cause in Jean Calas , to comic operas like Severin's Le Villageois qui cherche son veau .

He was also a notorious literary pirate and dealer in pornography. In 1796, he was accused of pirating Philippe Fabre d'Eglantine's Intrigue épistolaire , and in 1797, Migneret's edition of de LaHarpe's Du fanatisme dans la langue révolutionnaire .[107] By 1802 Barba was, as the prefect of Paris described him, "very well known for this kind of trade."[108] Barba also orchestrated numerous illegal editions of the marquis de Sade's Justine , until the police finally discovered his secret warehouse in 1802.[109] Known for driving hard bargains, both legal and illegal, Barba was enormously successful.

By 1795 he had moved to the rue Git-le-coeur, in the heart of the old publishing district, and he maintained a second shop in the Palais Royal. Five years later he also had an outlet nearer to the theater at the Palais du Tribunat. Having founded one of the great publishing fortunes of the revolutionary era through popular theater, pornography, and literary pirating, Barba, too, branched out into the novel, beginning with Guillaume-Charles-Antoine Pigault-Lebrun's libertine romances. By the 1820s Barba had become one of the first editors of Honoré de Balzac.[110] Like Maradan and Migneret, Barba was instrumental in turning Paris publishing from classical theater to the romantic novel, from civic to domestic genres.
Barba seems to work rather near to "theater-life" and the author in Bordeaux ALSO seems to have lived near a theater.
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