Ludic Cultures, 1100-1700

  • A sixteenth-century painting of a group of well-dressed men and women, seated around a table, playing cards and gambling with gold coins.

    "The Card Players," after Lucas van Leyden, c. 1550/1599, Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1961.9.27. Public domain.

Ludic Cultures treats medieval and early modern play in all its rich variety: enjoyment and entertainment, laughter and humor, carnival and the carnivalesque, games and amusements, and the relationship between the serious world and the “magic circle” of play. Volumes in the series are grounded in historical realities and theoretical scholarship, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries and illuminating the culture of play. We invite proposals that explore play in any facet of medieval or early modern cultural production.

Keywords: Ludic, cultural history, social history, history of games and play, board games studies, cultural production, medieval and early modern games.

Geographical Scope: Western Europe and the Americas

Chronological Scope: 1100-1700

The series welcomes the submission of both monographs and essay collections that view cultures in Europe and the Americas between 1100 and 1700 through the lens of play.

All Books in this Series

  • Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games

    Cover of Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games: an early modern image of a woman and two men playing a card game.

    Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games

    By Allison Levy

    An innovative volume of fifteen interdisciplinary essays at the nexus of material culture, performance studies, and game theory, Playthings in Early Modernity emphasizes the rules of the game(s) as well as the breaking of those rules. Thus, the titular "plaything" is understood as both an object and a person, and play, in the early modern world, is treated not merely as a pastime, a leisurely pursuit, but as a pivotal part of daily life, a strategic psychosocial endeavor.

    LC Monograph 1, ISBN 978-1-58044-260-2 (clothbound), 978-1-58044-261-9 (PDF) © 2017

    Buy Playthings in Early Modernity at ISD