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In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, debating the acceptability of games and recreation was serious business. With Lector Ludens, Michael Scham uses Cervantes's Don Quijote and Novelas ejemplares as the basis for a wide-ranging exploration of early modern Spanish views on recreations ranging from cards and dice to hunting, attending the theater, and reading fiction. Shifting fluidly between modern theories of play, little-kwn Spanish treatises on leisure and games, and the evidence in Cervantes's own works, Scham illuminates Cervantes's intense fascination with games, play, and leisure, as well as the tensions in early modern Spain between the stern moralizing of the Counter-Reformation and the playfulness of Renaissance humanism.
Michael Scham is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.