The Wreath Of Wild Olive
Play, Liminality, And The Study Of LiteratureeBook - 1997
"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
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.
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 creation of an irenic mode of thought, feeling, and behavior?