Since its invention in the nineteenth century, baseball has been steeped in lore and rhetoric. A cultural commentator recently pegged it one of three significant American contributions to world culture, along with jazz and the U.S. Constitution. Numerous literary and artistic representations of baseball have appeared over the years, often treating it as more than a game and only a little less than a religion. Representations of the sport tend toward more than description, imbuing the activity with a mysticism. In this class, we will track these representations, and weigh the cornucopia of literary nonfiction depicting the game. The goal will be to map the scope of this literature, defining a tradition’s edges, determining its peaks, assessing its limits, challenges, and stakes.
3-5 units. Less units for students who want to have a lighter load.