'Lector Ludens': The Representation of Games & Play in Cervantes

By Michael Scham

© 2014

In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, debating the acceptability of games and recreation was serious business. With Lector Ludens, Michael Scham uses Cervantes’s Don Quijote and Novelas ejemplares as the basis for a wide-ranging exploration of early modern Spanish views on recreations ranging from cards and dice to hunting, attending the theater, and reading fiction.

Shifting fluidly between modern theories of play, little-known Spanish treatises on leisure and games, and the evidence in Cervantes’s own works, Scham illuminates Cervantes’s intense fascination with games, play, and leisure, as well as the tensions in early modern Spain between the stern moralizing of the Counter-Reformation and the playfulness of Renaissance humanism.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Iberic
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.4in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003844

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2014

    From: $54.00

    Regular Price: $72.00

    ISBN 9781442648647
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2014

    From: $54.00

    Regular Price: $72.00

Quick Overview

Michael Scham uses Cervantes’s Don Quijote and Novelas ejemplares as the basis for a wide-ranging exploration of early modern Spanish views on recreations ranging from cards and dice to hunting, attending the theater, and reading fiction.

'Lector Ludens': The Representation of Games & Play in Cervantes

By Michael Scham

© 2014

In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, debating the acceptability of games and recreation was serious business. With Lector Ludens, Michael Scham uses Cervantes’s Don Quijote and Novelas ejemplares as the basis for a wide-ranging exploration of early modern Spanish views on recreations ranging from cards and dice to hunting, attending the theater, and reading fiction.

Shifting fluidly between modern theories of play, little-known Spanish treatises on leisure and games, and the evidence in Cervantes’s own works, Scham illuminates Cervantes’s intense fascination with games, play, and leisure, as well as the tensions in early modern Spain between the stern moralizing of the Counter-Reformation and the playfulness of Renaissance humanism.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Iberic
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.4in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘I endorse Scham’s book as a fine contribution to Cervantes studies.’


    Eduardo Olid Guerrero
    Modern Philology vol 113:04:2016

    ‘The range and depth of the study are admirable. The approach is scholarly and distinctive with some surprising and effective juxtapositions – and the treatment of the topic is, appropriately entertaining. Highly recommended.’


    E.H. Friedman
    Choice Magazine vol 52:06:2015

    ‘Scham’s book is a fascinating and scholarly analysis of games and play in Cervantes and an excellent accounting of his place in wider European context.’


    Harry Sieber
    Renaissance Quarterly vol 68:04:2014

    Lector Ludens is an important contribution to what is known about recreation and play in the early-modern Hispanic world. Not only has Michael Scham drawn on many primary sources, both printed and archival, but he has also contextualized them within Aristotelian, scholastic, Medieval, neo-Scholastic, Erasmian, and Italian Renaissance thought. This will prove to be an invaluable tool for scholars of the period.”


    Rachel Schmidt, Department of French, Italian, and Spanish, University of Calgary

    “Well over a half-century has passed since the publication of Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens. In that time, not only have the games people play changed and reflected new technologies, but the boom in theory – including the development of game theory per se –has invited scholars to reexamine early modern art and society. The writings of Cervantes offer a superb bouncing-off place, given, among other things, the leisure activities of Alonso Quijano and the place of the ‘idle reader’ in Don Quijote. Michael Scham presents a broad approach to the topic of productive and unproductive play, with emphasis on Cervantes and his predecessors, contemporaries, and followers. The study will provide special satisfaction to those who find pleasure in ‘working on’ Cervantes.”


    Edward H. Friedman, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Vanderbilt University
  • Author Information

    Michael Scham is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments
    List of Illustrations
    Introduction

    1. Leisure and Recreation in Early Modern Spain

    • Theoretical Contexts
    • Prerational and Rational Play in the Epic, the Picaresque, and the Quixotic
    • The Space and Function of Eutrapelia
    • Cristóbal Méndez, Rodrigo Caro, Fray Alonso Remon: Therapeutic Exercise
    • Human Divinity and Depravity: Vives, Erasmus, Montaigne
    • Play types in Golden Age Spain
    • Chess
    • Games of Chance
    • Physical activity and competition
    • Mimesis
    • Ilinx
    • Regulating play in the Indias

    2. Solitary, Collaborative and Complicit Play in Don Quijote

    • Cervantes and the Ambivalent Freedom of Play
    • Players and Games in Don Quijote
    • Play and Laughter in Don Quijote
    • Laughing At, Laughing With
    • Comic Doubt and Delusion in Don Quijote
    • Ludic Scepticism in Don Quijote II

    3. The Novelas ejemplares: Ocio, Exemplarity, and Community

    • Agonistic and Restrictive Play in El licenciado Vidriera
    • The Agonistic Intellect: Cruel Comedy and Vidriera’s Humourless Vision
    • The Picaresque and Play in El coloquio de los perros
    • Play and the Liminal Underworld Experience
    • Dialogue and the Digressive Quest for Meaning in El coloquio de los perros
    • Play and the Exemplarity of Process
    • Picaresque Freedom and Festive Play
    • The Festive Mode of the Picaresque
    • Monipodio’s Criminal and Ludic Community in Rinconete y Cortadillo
    • Distance, Morality, and the Allure of the Aesthetic Experience
    • Generic Interplay in La ilustre fregona
    • Interrogation and Validation of the Fictional World

    Conclusion

    Notes

    Bibliography