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Issues in Literature and Culture

Homo Ludens as a Comic Character in Selected American Films

Authors: Skweres, Artur

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  • Reveals the hitherto critically disregarded ludic elements in popular American comedy films
  • Focuses exclusively on the elements typical of play that can be found in movies
  • Represents an important addition to film studies
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eBook $79.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47967-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47966-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $99.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-83869-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book reveals the hitherto critically disregarded ludic elements in popular American comedy films, building on and expanding the theories developed by Johan Huizinga in his classic study Homo Ludens (1938) and Roger Caillois in Les jeux et les hommes (1958). To address the lack of attention paid to the play principle in film comedy studies, this book focuses exclusively on the elements typical of play that can be found in movies. It introduces two new categories describing play: óneiros and pragma, which allow analysis of how play in comedies is influenced by the relations between the player and non-players. The text is supplemented by the use of the author’s drawings, which, because of their analytical and selective nature, are used as a tool for visual study.

The play principle has a long tradition in American humor and the films examined here were chosen for their popularity and wide appeal, often acting as vehicles for Hollywood stars (e.g. Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Goldie Hawn, Mike Myers, Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker). The actors’ status allowed the filmmakers to construct situations in which the protagonists distanced themselves from the fictional situation. It is argued that the playful detachment from reality, typifying many of the fictional characters portrayed by actors with star status, is characteristic of the play principle in film. Another major consideration is the hotly debated notion of the accomplishment of goals in playful activities, and the book strongly supports the position that in narratives, play can (but does not have to) yield important results. The introduction of the categories of óneiros and pragma in play serves to highlight the complex relation between playfulness and practicality in the films discussed. Building on a comprehensive analysis of the ludic elements in selected popular American comedies, the book makes an important contribution to film studies, providing a unique perspective through its focus on the concept of homo ludens as a comic hero.

About the authors

Artur Skweres, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the English Department of the Faculty of Pedagogy and Fine Arts, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. His academic interests include American culture (especially literature and film), as well as theories of comedy and humor. In 2012 he published his first book entitled Searching for Truth and Freedom: Philip K. Dick’s Works in Light of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Thought.

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47967-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47966-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $99.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-83869-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Homo Ludens as a Comic Character in Selected American Films
Authors
Series Title
Issues in Literature and Culture
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-47967-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-47967-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-47966-8
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-83869-4
Series ISSN
2365-967X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 97
Number of Illustrations
20 b/w illustrations
Topics