Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ten top books about boxing

Declan Ryan is a poet and critic in London. His first collection is Crisis Actor.

His reviews and essays have appeared in journals including New York Review of Books, The Baffler, Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Observer, Poetry, The Irish Times, The Telegraph, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review of Books, and New Statesman.

At Electric Lit Ryan tagged ten "books use boxing as their entry-point to tell stories of loyalty, corruption, greed, luck and endurance," including:
Boxing: A Cultural History by Kasia Boddy

Kasia Boddy is a Professor of American Literature at Cambridge University and this is an impressively intertextual, beautifully illustrated and expansive survey of responses to ‘the sweet science’ across a range of artforms. Its historical scope takes the reader back to the Ancients, and forward to the era of the heavyweight giants of Ali, Frazier et al; via the paintings of George Bellows and the prose of Philip Roth. The imprint of boxing, and its legendary figures, in music and film are perceptively discussed—the emphasis mostly on reception, rather than the participants’ own testimonies, but the scale, range and insight justify its editorial focus turning away from those inside the ring onto the interested, creative, audience on the safe side of the ropes.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Boxing: A Cultural History.

--Marshal Zeringue