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.