In Praise of Athletic Beauty

In Praise of Athletic Beauty By the hundreds of millions we show up stand in line turn on and tune in to watch mesmerized as athletes perform And yet this experience so widely craved and intensely felt we commonly dismiss

  • Title: In Praise of Athletic Beauty
  • Author: Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
  • ISBN: 9780674021723
  • Page: 426
  • Format: Hardcover
  • By the hundreds of millions we show up, stand in line, turn on, and tune in to watch, mesmerized, as athletes perform And yet this experience, so widely craved and intensely felt, we commonly dismiss as only a game A book that looks beyond the usual explanations of why sports fascinates, In Praise of Athletic Beauty also strives for a language that can frame even enhaBy the hundreds of millions we show up, stand in line, turn on, and tune in to watch, mesmerized, as athletes perform And yet this experience, so widely craved and intensely felt, we commonly dismiss as only a game A book that looks beyond the usual explanations of why sports fascinates, In Praise of Athletic Beauty also strives for a language that can frame even enhance the pleasure we take in watching athletic events.The vicarious thrill, anxiety release, competitive spirit in place of these traditional answers to the mystery of sports allure, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht proposes a powerful and provocative alternative The fascination with watching sports, he argues, is probably the most popular and potent contemporary form of aesthetic experience in the classic, very literal sense of this concept In exploring this idea, Gumbrecht develops a lucid reflection on the pleasures of sports spectatorship and the nature of athletic beauty Where we might readily pronounce certain athletic moves and plays beautiful, this book gives us the means to explore, understand, and enjoy even acutely the aesthetic experience that our words in passing barely suggest.With a new perspective on the appreciation of and, indeed, a new tone of praising sports, Gumbrecht also offers a new way of narrating the history of athletics and a fresh vocabulary for analyzing various sports Exploring athletic beauty, this book makes us understand the widespread passion sport inspires as an untamed form of aesthetic fascination.

    One thought on “In Praise of Athletic Beauty”

    1. I loved it. Gumbrecht's framework is nuanced, which makes his work unique in that its not a sports-for-sports sake work, not sociology, and not mainstream sports writing. It's a philosophical work about aesthetics, really. Plus, it's personal, which I appreciate as Gumbrecht's framework flows out of his emotional relationship to sports. Bonus: the best explication/application of Kantian aesthetic I've seen. Lovely book.

    2. I bought this book having certain expectations in my mind. I remember reading several essays from Gumbrecht's "1926", and though I cannot clearly remember what they are about, I remember that I enjoyed reading them. Maybe it happened because of the form, Gumbrecht's style of writing, which is quite easy and I would even say full of grace. Having all that in mind, I took from the shelve "In Praise of Athletic Beauty".However, I did not get what I wanted. Well, Rolling Stones warned about that sev [...]

    3. Gumbrecht's fundamental premise is that there is a reason for watching sport and writing about sport that doesn't try to make it about something else. He's right, of course, for many the experience of sport is simply about sport, about body movement, about pleasure. Even though I teach in a sports programme I am not at all 'sporty' and don't particularly like it – but I still derive pleasure from watching sport-done-well. I won't dwell on Gumbrecht's historical content – it is always unfair [...]

    4. Gumbrecht's loose and scattered little book on athletics is disappointing from an intellectual standpoint but satisfying as a document of intelligent enthusiasm and (even) autobiography. His arguments concerning beauty, agon and arete, spectatorship, and so forth are all interesting, but they seem underdeveloped, and I kept waiting for the knockout punch that would seal the connection I sense between music and sports. It didn’t come. Still, Gumbrecht, a Stanford literature professor (and avid [...]

    5. A really interesting attempt at defining what is so fascinating and captivating about sports without appealing to anything external or outside of sport. Worth a read by any fan or athlete.

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