The Spirituality of Sport and the Role of the Athlete in the Tennis Essays of David Foster Wallace

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Abstract

The well-known novelist and creative writer David Foster Wallace (1962–2008) belongs to a select group of “occasional sportswriters” whose writings about sport have influenced cultural discourse about tennis and animated future sports writing. Wallace uses three rhetorical tactics—providing knowledge to the reader as confidant, making meaning out of the athletic cliché, and translating the form of professional tennis into prose—that establish his cultural authority on tennis while positioning the athlete as a transcendent spiritual practitioner. This characterization redefines dominant understandings of the athlete’s relationship to religion and the spectator’s relationship to the athlete, while discarding the possibility of recognizing the athlete as citizen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-238
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication and Sport
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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