Reading Huizinga

Willem Otterspeer

Reading Huizinga
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Willem Otterspeer

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

261 pages | 6 x 8 1/4 | © 2010
Paper $35.50 ISBN: 9789089641809 Published July 2011 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

Johan Huizinga, the Dutch founding father of cultural history, ranks among the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Perhaps best known is Huizinga’s revolutionary insight into the formative role of play in human culture, a theory he espoused in the celebrated Homo Ludens, which was published in 1938. For Huizinga, philology was the mother of all interpretive endeavors, reading and writing were part of a collective ritual that channeled human passion into beautiful forms, and passion remained the fundamental fact of human life. In this clear, engaging study, the renowned Dutch scholar Willem Otterspeer paints an original portrait of Huizinga in the context of interwar Europe—and shares his subject’s own hallmark passion for history.

Introduction: A classic author
1. Life
2. Work
3. Reading
4. Writing
5. Contrast
6. Harmony
7. Passion
8. Synaesthesia
9. Method
10. Mysticism
11. Extrapolation
12. Metamorphosis
13. Coda: Historical greatness
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