A Philosophical Examination of Play in Literature

“Reading Games is a subtle, provocative, intellectually invigorating study of the ludic impulse in literature. Thoughtful, carefully researched, and mobile in its strategy, this book argues for a reconfigured vision of literature, one based on an ethics of writerly and readerly gesture…The kind of play that Reading Games describes is both free and uncorrupted; it is refreshingly dialogical, clearing away a site for interaction and articulation within the text; most importantly perhaps, it encourages us to ‘see otherly.’”             –Warren Motte                                                                                

“We all know there’s more to games than fun. Bohman-Kalaja’s remarkable study of O’Brien, Beckett and Perec is the first to get to grips with the deeper issues involved of the ludic practices of these post-modern masters. It also teaches us a great deal about what kind of games can be played with and through words. Learned, illuminating, original and profound, this is a study that should transform the teaching of modern literature – and bring back some of the fun!”   
–David Bellos     

It was the historian Johan Huizinga who first elaborated a theory of play. Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Roger Caillois and other luminaries have also been drawn to the subject. Now, Kimberly Bohman-Kalaja has applied play-theory to the words of three authors – Flann O’Brien, Samuel Beckett and Georges Perec – with illuminating, sometimes startling results.  –Anthony Cronin