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

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Examines the concept of play in Western thought, with special emphasis on the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, and envisions literary discourse as contributing to an alternative mentality based on peace rather than power.<P>"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.This book is more than useful. It frames a number of crucially important issues in ways that are not to be found anywhere else. Play in itself is a topic that should receive increasing attention in the future in any case, and Spariosu's work here (and elsewhere) makes a fundamental contribution to this approach toward human understanding. 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<P>The title of this book (that is, the image of the olive) conveys the twofold cultural symbolism of ludic liminality and irenic transformation. Spariosu here both continues with and departs from his previous works, where he has sketched a broad genealogical outline of the concept of play in Western thought, with special emphasis on the agon between aesthetics and ethics, or between poetry and philosophy, as initiated by Socrates in Plato's Republic.<P>In this book he moves back and forth between a genealogical and a speculative approach, envisioning the possibility of an alternative human mentality that is based not on power but on another formative principle, such as primordial peace (Levinas's phrase). Canhumans in general and Westerners in particular gain access to or build alternative mentalities, or even alternative worlds? What would the onto-epistemology, axiology, and etho-pathology of such a world look like? And how can literary discourse specifically contribute to the

Book News Annotation:

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. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780791433652
Author:
Spariosu, Mihai
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Subject:
Study and teaching
Subject:
History
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
Aesthetics
Subject:
Semiotics & Theory
Subject:
European literature -- History and criticism.
Subject:
Ethics in literature
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Publication Date:
19970531
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
350
Dimensions:
9.33x6.30x1.05 in. 1.46 lbs.

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