Sport studies and sports history have witnessed a recent substantial increase in publications. However, the relationship between literature and sport has been little explored. Sport, Literature, Society looks at a wide variety of case studies ranging from Japan to England, from India to Australia and covers sports as diverse as cycling, football, wrestling and boxing. It concentrates on historical perspectives. The contributors are all academics of international reputation and include historians of sport and literary scholars.
Literature may shape our perceptions and reactions to sport as much as sport may inform our reading. As mimetic practice, as aesthetic object, as imaginative release, sport is analogous to literature and the other arts; at the same time, it can become the subject of literary, visual or musical elaborations. Literature often conceptualises the place and role of sport in culture and society. Indeed, sport inhabits literature in ways that have not been adequately studied. Sport studies have investigated the relationships between sport and society, education, gender, nation, and class. To look again at these relationships through the prism of literature enables us to change our focus and to assess the centrality of sport in culture.
This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.
Preface: Context, Continuity, Commentaries, Challenges 1. Prologue: Literature, Sport, and Story-Telling 2. 'The Athletic Body in Classical Athens: Literary and Historical Perspectives' 3. ‘Tumultuous Text: the imagining of Australia through Literature, Sport and Nationalism from Colonies to the Federation’ 4. ‘Cultures of the Body in Colonial Bengal: the career of Gobor Guha’ 5. ‘Conformity Confronted and Orthodoxy Outraged: The Loom of Youth – Succès de Scandale?In search of a wider reality.’ 6. ‘Cycling in circles: Flann O’Brien’s free-wheeling stories in The Third Policeman’ 7. The Imperial Imperative : Sport in the Service of Japan 8. ‘Nature boys, Supermen, Fanatics: Perspectives on Finnishness in three Sports Novels’ 9. ‘In the Ring: Gender, Spectatorship, and the Body’ 10. ‘Heroes, Fans and the Nation: Exploring Football in Contemporary Fiction’ 11. ‘Cricketing Multiculturalism in Caryl Phillips’s Playing Away’ 12. Cricket and the Nation 13. Epilogue: Global Futures: Sport and Literature
As Robert Hands in The Times recently observed, the growth of sports studies in recent years has been considerable. This unique series with over one hundred volumes in the last decade has played its part. Politically, culturally, emotionally and aesthetically, sport is a major force in the modern world. Its impact will grow as the world embraces ever more tightly the contemporary secular trinity: the English language, technology and sport. Sport in the Global Society will continue to record sport's phenomenal progress across the world stage.