Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-element in Culture

Front Cover
Beacon Press, 1955 - History - 220 pages
20 Reviews
In Homo Ludens, the classic evaluation of play that has become a "must-read" for those in game design, Dutch philosopher Johan Huizinga defines play as the central activity in flourishing societies. Like civilization, play requires structure and participants willing to create within limits. Starting with Plato, Huizinga traces the contribution of Homo Ludens, or "Man the player" through Medieval Times, the Renaissance, and into our modern civilization. Huizinga defines play against a rich theoretical background, using cross-cultural examples from the humanities, business, and politics. Homo Ludens defines play for generations to come.

"A happier age than ours once made bold to call our species by the name of Homo Sapiens. In the course of time we have come to realize that we are not so reasonable after all as the Eighteenth Century with its worship of reason and naive optimism, though us; "hence moder fashion inclines to designate our species asHomo Faber: Man the Maker. But though faber may not be quite so dubious as sapiens it is, as a name specific of the human being, even less appropriate, seeing that many animals too are makers. There is a third function, howver, applicable to both human and animal life, and just as important as reasoning and making--namely, playing. it seems to me that next to Homo Faber, and perhaps on the same level as Homo Sapiens, Homo Ludens, Man the Player, deserves a place in our nomenclature. "--from the Foreward, by Johan Huizinga
  

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Review: Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture

User Review  - Jonathan Cook - Goodreads

In Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga makes the case that the ability and appetite for play is a defining characteristic of humanity. Huizinga describes play as an essential pillar of civilization, present ... Read full review

Review: Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture

User Review  - Sabot - Goodreads

Contains some interesting ideas, but felt like a slog at times. I considered putting it down and moving on but I'm still glad I stuck it out. The two star rating is based entirely on the "it was OK" caption so don't let it dissuade you from picking this book up. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF PLAY AS A CULTURAL PHENOMENON
1
THE PLAYCONCEPT AS EXPRESSED IN LANGUAGE
28
PLAY AND CONTEST AS CIVILIZING FUNCTIONS
46
PLAY AND LAW
76
PLAY AND WAR
89
PLAYING AND KNOWING
105
PLAY AND POETRY
119
THE ELEMENTS OF MYTHOPOIESIS
136
PLAYFORMS IN PHILOSOPHY
146
PLAYFORMS IN ART
158
WESTERN CIVILIZATION SUB SPECIE LUDI
173
THE PLAYELEMENT IN CONTEMPORARY CIVILIZATION
195
INDEX
214
Copyright

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About the author (1955)

Johan Huizinga (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈɦoeyzɪŋɣaː]) (December 7, 1872 - February 1, 1945), was a Dutch historian and one of the founders of modern cultural history." (amazon.com)