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The World in PlayPortraits of a Victorian Concept$
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Matthew Kaiser

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804776080

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804776080.001.0001

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Mapping the World in Play

Mapping the World in Play

(p.13) Chapter 1 Mapping the World in Play
The World in Play
Stanford University Press

This chapter draws upon the work of play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith, and Charles Dickens, to present an extensive albeit provisional taxonomy of play in nineteenth-century British literature and culture, revealing the extent to which the concept of play infiltrates the infrastructure of everyday life in the Victorian period; indeed, how a network of contradictory and overlapping logics of play constitutes the very architecture of being. It offers an analytical frame with which to map the various logics of play in hundreds—indeed, thousands—of nineteenth-century literary and cultural artifacts. The chapter addresses the following questions: From whence did the world in play come? And what caused play to proliferate conceptually in the first place, to spread virally through modern consciousness?

Keywords:   Victorians, play, Brian Sutton-Smith, Charles Dickens, nineteenth-century Britain, British literature, British culture

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