- File Size: 3614 KB
- Print Length: 231 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press (June 1, 1971)
- Publication Date: June 1, 1971
- Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001PSEQT2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,525 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The important thing for the reader to understand is that Huizinga does not think that play is in any way trivial or less than serious. In fact, he argues that play is a wider, more all-embracing concept than seriousness. Because the idea of seriousness excludes play, whereas the idea of play can very well be taken seriously. In the latter portion of his book, he laments the fact that play has been ripped from its organic place at the heart of communities and transferred to commercialized spheres of sport.
Contrary to what another reviewer says here, Huizinga was not writing in the 1950s but in 1938. A time when the old ideals of nobility and chivalry even in war had been exploded. A time when the very idea of play was something worth cherishing, something to attempt to preserve for a more fortunate future.
This is a masterpiece of deeply humanist historical and cultural analysis. If it annoys poststructuralists, well, its the poststructuralists who have the problems.
Steven Poole, author, Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution
Why is this book so important? First, it clearly differentiates between play and games; there is a great deal of play-activity that does not constitute game-playing. That differentiation is lost on many people. Second, it explores the concept of play from an astounding number of directions. The strongest analysis is the linguistic analysis, which considers how many different languages address the concept of play. The word "play" is one of the semantically broadest words in the English language. From terms such as 'gun play' to 'play' as a theatrical production to 'play' as the freedom of movement of a mechanical part to 'player' as a device that plays a recording, the notion of play has spread broadly and deeply into many different cultures, and the special emphases that different cultures place on the meaning of play itself reveals much about the concept. What we call a 'bastard' in English is a 'spielkind' in German: a "play-child". The Japanese language has an entire formal sublanguage for addressing certain sensitive topics. "I am sad to learn that your father is playing at being dead" would be a literal translation of this kind of language. What does that say about the concept of play in the human mind?
Huizinga offers many other brilliant insights into the nature of play in the human species. His observations on the idea of demarcating territory in which certain rules of play apply -- a royal court, a court of law, or a basketball court -- are eye-opening. We humans have a subjunctive sense that we explore with variations on play.Read more ›
Huizinga's contribution of the new word 'ludiek', introduced through his translations in almost every language but English, is simply left out of the introduction and does not occur in the book. This means that the logic Huizinga has set up, pointing out how cultural practices are characterized by 'ludieke' features (i.e. features of their game-like quality) gets reduced to a book on 'game elements'. The entire logic of play creating culture therefore never comes across, but stays obscured behind game elements in culture.
This translation should really be immediately taken from the market or redone by someone who actually tries his best to translate with integrity. An indication of the complete lack thereof is the note of the editor that he changed the subtitle from 'play element of culture' (which Huizinga in his introduction clarifies he fought for on several occassions to be maintained) into 'play element in culture', because "English prepositions are not governed by logic". The English-centricity complete overrules at least 90% of what Huizinga actually expresses.
'imitato dei'. And we are also 'homo ludens' the creature for whom play is at the essence of our being .
Huizinga may be too much of a generalist for many today, but he has a great perception and he elaborates and investigates it in an insightful way.
" If we cannot play we cannot begin to be fully human"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A remarkable book--a must-read for anyone in cultural studies, anthropology, etc.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I ordered a new copy of Homo Ludens to use in a workshop at a" Burn" (as in Burning Man) in Virginia. I was emphasizing the importance of adult play. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Gail E. Haley
The translation could be alot better, but the idea is there. The "Play" is all around us, and is part of our culture (no mater where we live). Read morePublished 17 months ago by James Della Valle
You can always count on Huizinga for a first rate read. The man's amazing.Published on August 15, 2014 by Jim Harrison
In Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga makes the case that the ability and appetite for play is a defining characteristic of humanity. Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by Jonathan Cook
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