The Wreath of Wild Olive: Play, Liminality, and the Study of Literature

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Albany, NY 1997 Hard cover Very good. No dust jacket. Ex-library. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 350 p. Audience: General/trade. Usual library stamps, labels and pockets. ... Tight, clean copy, no marks or underling. Read more Show Less

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'Spariosu's book is one of the most compelling accounts of the nature of play that I have ever encountered. Its breadth and depth of knowledge are remarkable, its understanding of the importance of play acute. I know of no other book that probes the notion of play from as many different angles and that manages to provoke as many different questions on the topic as this one.'--James S. Hans, Wake Forest University
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Editorial Reviews

Sketching a broad outline of the concept of play in Western thought, the author provides answers to questions such as: What is the essential relation between art, ethics, and politics in ancient and modern Western communities? What is the role of literature within a mentality of power? He employs both a genealogical and a speculative approach, envisioning the possibility of an alternative human mentality that is not based on power, but instead on another formative principle, such as primordial peace. He further examines how literary discourse could contribute to the creation of such a world, or mentality. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791433652
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Toward a Ludic-Irenic Theory of Literature and Culture: Intellectual Historical Background, Basic Principles
1 Nietzsche or Schopenhauer: Can One Construct an Alternative Mentality? 3
2 Liminality, Literary Discourse, and Alternative Worlds 31
3 Difference, Identity, and Otherness: A Ludic-Irenic Perspective 73
Pt. 2 Literary Thematics and Ludic-Irenic Hermeneutics
4 Homicide as Play: Dostoevsky, Gide, Aiken 123
5 Race, Ethnicity, and Irenic Mentality: Rebreanu, Eliade, Devi 169
6 Allegory, Power, and the Postmodern Game of Interpretation: Nabokov, Lowry, Orwell 211
Pt. 3 Ludic-Irenic Approaches to Cultural Criticism
7 Criticism as Irenic Play: The Case of the Victorian Sages 263
Notes 303
Selected Bibliography 329
Index 339
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