The Allure of Sports in Western Culture
Whether it is our love of chance and vicarious thrill, our need to release anxiety and aggression, or our appreciation of the arc traced by a ball at a crucial moment – sports draw us in.
The Allure of Sports in Western Culture contributes to contemporary debates about the attraction of sports in the West by providing a historical grounding as well as theoretical perspectives and contextualization. Bringing together the work of literary theorists, historians, and athletes, the volume’s dual emphasis allows us to better understand the historical and ideological reasons for the changing nature of sports’ allure from Ancient Greece and Rome to the modern Olympics. The findings show that allure is shaped by larger forces such as poverty, wealth, and status; changing moral standards; and political and cultural indoctrination. On the other hand, personal and psychological factors play an equally important, if less tangible role: our love for scandal, the seduction of deception and violence, and the physiological intoxication of watching and participating in sports keep us hooked. At the heart of the volume lies the tension between our love of sport and our knowledge of its only barely hidden cruelty, exploitation, and manipulation.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 288 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.1in
"The Allure of Sports in Western Culture brings together a collection of insightful investigations into the qualities, both ethical and aesthetic, that have constituted the fascination of sports from classical antiquity to the present day. Observed from a broad variety of perspectives, the essays in this volume address the entangled forms of desire – for beauty, for ugliness, for losing one’s individuality – that combine to make sports one of the most significant cultural activities of the West."
Andrew James Johnston, Freie Universität Berlin
"Zilcosky and Burks have put together a timely collection of exceptional quality. The Allure of Sports in Western Culture evidences the growing importance of sports studies as a field that urges us to think through some of the most pressing questions of ethics and aesthetics. It shows how sports play a key role in historical subject formations and illuminates how the cultural as well as political events that institutionalize this practice are central to our modern self-understanding. The contributions make clear that scholars across the humanities have much to profit from thinking about the allure of sports."
Alexander Regier, Department of English, Rice University
"The fascination of sport in all its richness and ambivalence has hardly ever been explored so deeply. Magnificent!"
Stefan Willer, Department of German Literature, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Author InformationJohn Zilcosky is professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and editor of Writing Travel: The Poetics and Politics of the Modern Journey, also published by the University of Toronto Press.
Marlo Alexandra Burks is an independent scholar and recent postdoctoral Fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Table of contents
Part I: Introduction
Introduction: The Allure of Sports
Part II: Theoretical Perspectives
2. "Allure" Constrained by "Ethics"? How Athletic Events Have Engaged Their Spectators
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Part III: The Ancient World
3. The Fading Allure of Greek Athletics
4. Wrestling, or the Art of Disentangling Bodies
5. The Allure and Ethics of Ancient Aesthetics: Hellenism in the Modern Olympic Movement
Part IV: Modern Europe
6. Attractive or Repugnant? Foot Races in Eighteenth-Century Germany and Britain
Rebekka Von Mallinckrodt
7. A Well-Trained Community: Gymnastics for the German Nation
8. Importing a German Kampfsport: The Reception and Practice of Japanese Martial Arts in Interwar Germany
9. The Ethics and Allure of the Foul in Football
Part V: Coda
Subjects and Courses