Sports, Narrative, and Nation in the Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Hardback) book cover

Sports, Narrative, and Nation in the Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald

By Jarom McDonald

© 2007 – Routledge

168 pages

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Paperback: 9780415803038
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This study examines the ways that F. Scott Fitzgerald portrayed organized spectator sports as working to help structure ideologies of class, community, and nationhood. Situating the study in the landscape of late nineteenth/early twentieth-century American sport culture, Chapter One shows how narratives of attending ballgames, reading or listening to sports media, and being a ‘fan,’ cultivate communities of spectatorship.

Adopting this same framework, the next three chapters explore how Fitzgerald’s literary representations of sport culture express the complexities of American society. Chapter Two specifically considers the ‘intense and dramatic spectacle’ of college football in ‘This Side of Paradise’ as a means of exploring links between spectatorship, emulation and ideology. Chapter Three continues with college football as its theme, but this time looks at how it is portrayed in Fitzgerald’s short stories, in order to scrutinize the relationship between the performative aspects of sport and the performative aspects of social class. Finally, Chapter Four scrutinizes how The Great Gatsby critiques the romantic nationalist ideology of ‘America’s game’ by revealing the class divisions and tensions of baseball’s spectator culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fitzgerald, Sport, and Social Interaction

Chapter One: "We Are a Very Special Country": The Narrativization of Sport and the Fiction of a Classless Nation

Chapter Two: Gridiron Paradise: Princetonian Football, American Class

Chapter Three: "Idol of the Whole Body of Young Men": Football, Heroes, and the Performance of Social Status

Chapter Four: "Perfunctory Patriotism": Tom Buchanan, Meyer Wolfshiem, and America’s Game

Coda: Of Habitus and Homecoming




About the Author

Jarom McDonald is Associate Research Professor and Director of the Office of Digital Humanities at Brigham Young University, US.

About the Series

Studies in Major Literary Authors

Studies in Major Literary Authors features outstanding scholarship on celebrated and neglected authors of both canonical and lesser-known texts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General