Recreation in the Renaissance. Attitudes Towards Leisure and Pastimes in European Culture, c. 1425-1675  (2003)

Arcangeli, Alessandro
Recreation in the Renaissance. Attitudes Towards Leisure and Pastimes in European Culture, c. 1425-1675
Type of item:
Monografia o trattato scientifico
Tipologia ANVUR:
Monografia o trattato scientifico
A Stampa
Palgrave Macmillan
Recreation, Renaissance, leisure, exercise, games
Short description of contents:
Pre-publication endorsements 'An original, learned, lucid and accessible study that should be essential reading for students of the history of sport, leisure and the Renaissance.' - Professor Peter Burke, University of Cambridge Description In Renaissance Europe, when 'leisure classes' used social gathering to define civility and the commercialization of leisure was beginning, the human need for recreation became a cultural topos. The book explores the vocabulary of play and games; the spectrum of leisure activities, often gender-specific or appropriate to particular social groups; the medical discourse on the preservation of health, where amusements were assessed as physical exercise; the moral approach to play; legal treatises on gambling; and the visual representation of leisure. Contents List of Figures Preface PART 1: INTRODUCTION Games and Leisure between history and social theory PART 2: THE NEED FOR RECREATION Paradise Lost A saint, an archer and his bow (story of an exemplum) A right to be idle? PART 3: THE MEDICAL DISCOURSE Motion and rest Ancient and modern forms of exercise 'The manner of governing health' Amor et alea PART 4: THE MORAL DISCOURSE Reason versus Joy A virtue to remember A view from Paris Games without a chance Juego(s) A time for play? PART 5: GAMES AND LAW Ius commune De ludo Panem et circenses The regulation of extravagance PART 6: VARIETIES OF PASTIMES Leisure and social hierarchy Plaisirs des dames Children's games Medieval and Renaissance taxonomies PART 7: CONCLUSION Appendix: the European Vocabulary of Recreation Notes Bibliography IndexRecreation in the Renaissance: Attitudes Towards Leisure and Pastimes in European Culture, c.1425–1675, by Alessandro Arcangeli (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003; pp. 188. N.p.).The overall thesis of Arcangeli's book is that during the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a distinctive leisure culture emerged in Europe which had obvious connections with earlier and later developments, but was nonetheless distinguishable from both. In his introduction the author offers a survey of the study of the idea of play as a significant factor in human affairs. He starts from the landmark anthropological enquiry into the topic of play, Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens (1933), which discerned a ‘play element’ in fields as diverse as law, war, poetry, and art. He then discusses a number of theorists who have developed Huizinga's work: Robert Callois’ enlargement of Huizinga's notion of play (through the categories of competition, chance, mimesis and vertigo), which offered an ambitious sociological approach to human behaviour; Jacques Hermann's philosophical critique of the relation between play and culture as stated by both Huizinga and Callois as well as by the linguist Émile Benvéniste; and finally the sociological theories of Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning (Quest for Excitement), which introduced the important distinction between leisure activities and the broader notion of spare time. Reviewing the scholarship that has appeared subsequent to the important 1980 conference at Tours on the subject (Les Jeux à la Renaissance), Arcangeli concludes with the work of Peter Burke (The Invention of Leisure in Early Modern Europe, 1995). Burke argued against the orthodox historiographical position that the historical emergence of leisure was linked to the fundamental economic changes brought about by industrial capitalism and showed that between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries at least the upper strata of the population placed increasingly higher value on the full spectrum of leisure activities. This review of the scholarship complete, most of the rest of the book is devoted to the further development of Burke's thesis as it applies to various aspects of human activity. Arcangeli notes that, even though the chronology of each phenomenon involved in this elaboration is difficult to establish, there is nonetheless
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Deposited On:
July 29, 2008
Last Modified:
August 17, 2022
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Arcangeli, Alessandro, Recreation in the Renaissance. Attitudes Towards Leisure and Pastimes in European Culture, c. 1425-1675Palgrave Macmillan2003

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Sull’idea di ricreazione nella prima età moderna Department Culture e Civiltà Alessandro Arcangeli


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