11-2 | Homo Ludens: A Renewed Reading


Homo Ludens: A Renewed Reading

Peter McDonald


The author discusses Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens and the animating mood that it calls the “play spirit.” He argues that these styles of playfulness represent a major practical and theoretical contribution Huizinga offers contemporary studies of play, and he considers Huizinga’s methodology in a reading that runs counter to formal definitions of play. Drawing on phenomenological, linguistic, and hermeneutic elements in the text, he presents an alternative understanding of play’s form and what resists formalization. By attending to Huizinga’s hesitations and rhetorical excess in key moments of explanation, the article unvails the development of play spirit in Homo Ludens and its significance for the study of play and games. Key words: formalism; Johan Huizinga; interpretations of Homo Ludens; phenomenology