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

Spariosu, Mihai I.

'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 Editorial Reviews Booknews 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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