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

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SUNY Press, Apr 24, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 350 pages
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Mihai Spariosu's book strikingly intervenes in the debate raging among the various oppositional and hegemonic discourses by advancing a new philosophy that transcends the currently prevailing agonistic mentality. He develops a ludic-irenic view intended to exceed both a voluntaristic and rationalist mode of thought, thereby convincingly opposing the all-pervading mentality of power in a world marked by difference, scapegoating, and strife between various social, ethnic, racial, and sexual factions. The ludic-irenic stance, basically derived from the playfulness of literature, produces alternative mentalities and alternative worlds which promote a responsive understanding of what there is, thus bringing to bear a healing influence within the human community, in which power and difference will cease to be ultimates. What Spariosu puts forward and demonstrates by means of a stupendous erudition is no less than a total reorientation of cultural criticism that is bound to have its impact on the course cultural studies will take.
 

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Contents

NIETZSCHE OR SCHOPENHAUER Can One Construct an Alternative Mentality?
3
LIMINALITY LITERARY DISCOURSE AND ALTERNATIVE WORLDS
31
DIFFERENCE IDENTITY AND OTHERNESS A LudicIrenic Perspective
73
LITERARY THEMATICS AND LUDICIRENIC HERMENEUTICS
121
HOMICIDE AS PLAY Dostoevsky Gide Aiken
123
RACE ETHNICITY AND IRENIC MENTALITY Rebreanu Eliade Devi
169
ALLEGORY POWER AND THE POSTMODERN GAME OF INTERPRETATION Nabokov Lowry Orwell
211
LUDICIRENIC APPROACHES TO CULTURAL CRITICISM
261
CRITICISM AS IRENIC PLAY The Case of the Victorian Sages
263
Notes
303
Selected Bibliography
329
Index
339
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About the author (1997)

Mihai I. Spariosu is Distinguished Research Professor and Academic Director at the Institute for European Studies at the University of Georgia.