Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture by Johan Huizinga

By Johan Huizinga

In Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga defines play because the vital job in flourishing societies. He identifies 5 features of play: it's unfastened; it isn't “ordinary” or “real” existence; it truly is specific from “ordinary” lifestyles either as to locality and length; it creates order; it's attached without fabric curiosity, and from it no revenue will be gained.

With cross-cultural examples from the arts, company, and politics, Huizinga examines play in all its various guises—as it pertains to language, legislation, struggle, wisdom, poetry, fantasy, philosophy, paintings, and lots more and plenty extra. As he writes, “Civilization is, in its earliest stages, performed. It doesn't come from play like a toddler detaching itself from the womb: it arises in and as play, and not leaves it.”

beginning with Plato, Huizinga strains the contribution of “man the participant” throughout the center a long time, the Renaissance, and early glossy international. With a watch for our personal instances he writes: “In American politics [play] is much more obtrusive. lengthy prior to the two-party approach had decreased itself to 2 titanic groups whose political adjustments have been hardly ever discernible to an interloper, electioneering in the USA had built right into a form of nationwide sport.” With its outstanding ancient sweep, Homo Ludens defines play for generations to come.

“A interesting account of ‘man the participant’ and the contribution of play to civilization.”—Harper’s

“A author with a pointy and robust intelligence, helped by way of a present of expression and exposition that is very infrequent, Huizinga assembles and translates essentially the most primary parts of human tradition: the intuition for play. examining this quantity, one by surprise discovers how profoundly the achievements in legislation, technology, poverty, struggle, philosophy, and within the arts, are nourished by means of the intuition of play.”—Roger Caillois, editor of Diogenes

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Extra info for Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture

Sample text

This is particularly observable in the Germanic languages. These, as we have said above, possess no common word for play. We must take it, therefore, that in the hypothetical archaic Germanic period play had not yet been conceived as a general idea. But as soon as each individual branch of the Germanic languages threw up a word for play, these words all developed semantically in exactly the same way, or rather, this extensive and seemingly heterogeneous group of ideas was understood under the heading of "play" .

It is only by fanciful metaphors that Frobenius and Jensen force IJensen, op. cit. p. 1 52 . 20p. cit. p. 1 49 f. NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF PLAY an approach to it. ction of play-the ludic function, in fact. So that the apparently quite simple question of what play really is, leads us deep into the problem of the nature and origin of religious concepts. As we all know, one of the most important basic ideas with which every student of comparative religion has to acquaint himself is the following.

The word is not used for games of skill, contests, gambling or theatrical performances. For this, for orderly dramatic play, Chinese has words which belong to the conceptual field of "posi­ tion", "situation" , "arrangement" . Anything to do with contests is expressed by the special word cheng, the perfect equivalent of the Greek agon; apart from which sai denotes an organized contest for a prize. lWe must leave to one side a possible connection with t{yu-the clear sky. THE PLAY-CONCEPT AS EXPRESSED IN LANGUAGE 33 To Professor Uhlenbeck, my former colleague at Leyden, I am indebted for examples showing how the play-concept is expressed in one of the so-called primitive languages-Blackfoot, one of the Algonkin group.

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