Over the course of the last century, American fiction writers and poets have used sports figures and sporting events in order to make significant points on themes of identity as they are connected to gender, race, class, and nationality. The contributors to this volume examine American literature that uses sports as a trope to explore or disturb core values of this country. They explore individual works in order to uncover the rich connections between those works' use of sports and issues of importance to American culture from approximately 1920 to the end of the twentieth century. Focusing on four general themes, this volume offers a range of commentary on a variety of American literature. The first section features essays that explain how sports are used by writers to explore or critique American values. The next two sections contain essays that investigate the ways in which writers have used sports to express ideas about race, class, and gender. The final section turns to questions of aesthetics, featuring essays that concentrate on form, technique, and language itself.
Together, contributors cover a number of literary works that feature a wide variety of sports, from the expected (baseball) to the more surprising (body building and wilderness adventuring).
MICHAEL COCCHIARALE is Assistant Professor of English at Widener University, where he teaches American Literature, creative writing, and composition courses. SCOTT D. EMMERT is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. He has published numerous articles in various scholarly journals.
Acknowledgements Introduction: Sports and American Literature Who's Keeping Score?: Values and Sports in American Literature Leaping Hurdles: Race, Class, and Sports in American Literature Put a Body on 'Em: Gender and Sports in American Literature What a Beautiful Play!: Language, Aesthetics, and Sports in American Literature Selected Bibliography About the Editors and Contributors