From Greek athletic competitions to the cult of body-building at Gold's Gym, this text examines literature, art, television, and movies to uncover a vast array of evidence that cultures across the ages have reflected at length, in celebration and censure, on the erotic nature of sports.
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The good news: Amherst professor Allen Guttman's The Erotic in Sports takes a look at a subject that lurks behind the sports industry but is seldom talked about--the eroticism inherent in athletics, both for spectators and among the participants. The bad news: Guttman is first and foremost an academic, and his approach to the topic is largely clinical and dispassionate, depriving the work of the passion that the subject cries out for. Still, he does manage to work himself into a bit of a lather in writing about the incomparable Soviet gymnast Ludmilla Tourischeva: "a bewitched anthropologist and an enthralled historian both described [Tourischeva] as a woman endowed with a disturbing sexual attractiveness . . . For me, as well, she remains an unsually vivid personification of Eros and sports."From the Back Cover:
In The Erotic in Sports, Allen Guttmann illuminates a topic commonly hidden in the shadows, drawing upon literature, art, modern mass media, and traditional historical sources to describe and comment upon its importance across nearly three millennia of Western history. Investigating aesthetic ideals that romanticize the lithe, agile fencer at one historical moment and the massively muscled football player at another, surveying ancient legends and products of pop culture, Guttmann's groundbreaking work uncovers a vast array of evidence that cultures across the ages have celebrated, glorified, censured, and denied the erotic aspects of sports.
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