Sport as Symbol

Images of the Athlete in Art, Literature and Song

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SKU: 9780786469413 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Upon first consideration, sport and art seem to occupy separate, even opposing, realms—sport, associated with physical prowess, and art, with the highest reaches of the human mind. But because sport is such a powerful metaphor for so many human experiences, it has found its way into artistic traditions all over the world.
Part One of this book provides a basic understanding of sport as symbol. Part Two gives attention to animals as adversaries and traces the origins of sporting art back to the hunt. Part Three considers humans competing against humans in combat sports, ball games, stick-and-ball games, and racquet sports, as well as in warfare. Part Four concentrates on contesting with oneself in races and sports of grace and beauty such as gymnastics, figure skating and ice dancing. The book concludes with a discussion of the athlete’s relationships to society.

About the Author(s)

A professional writer and anthropologist, the late Mari Womack lived in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Mari Womack
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 52 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6941-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1

Part One: SPORT AS SYMBOL
1. Heroic Dramas and Athletic Actors     6

Part Two: THE ADVERSARY IN NATURE
2. The Hunt: Power of Life and Death     30
3. The Hunt Domesticated: Ritual Origins of the Bullfight     57

Part Three: THE HUMAN ADVERSARY
4. Combat Sports: The Socialization of Conflict     90
5. War Games     122

Part Four: THE ADVERSARY WITHIN
6. Transcending Time and Space     158
7. Metaphors of Love, Death, and Rebirth     184

Part Five: SYMBOLIC ACTORS AND SOCIAL DRAMAS
8. High Priests and Super Stars     218

Notes     231
Bibliography     235
Index     239

Book Reviews & Awards

Choice Outstanding Academic Title
“depicts sport in a magical way-in the realm of art and poetry…unique blend of conceptual application and visual representation…will be valuable in both sports and art collections…highly recommended”—Choice.