An instant classic of American sportswriting--the tennis essays of David Foster Wallace, "the best mind of his generation" (A. O. Scott) and "the best tennis-writer of all time" (New York Times) Both a onetime "near-great junior tennis player" and a lifelong connoisseur of the finer points of the game, David Foster Wallace wrote about tennis with the authority of an insider, the showmanship of a literary pyrotechnician, and disarming admiration of an irrepressible fan. Including his masterful profiles of Roger Federer and Tracy Austin, String Theory gathers Wallace's five famous essays on tennis, pieces that have been hailed by sportswriters and literary critics alike as some of the greatest and most innovative magazine writing in recent memory. Whiting-Award winning journalist John Jeremiah Sullivan provides an introduction.
Bachelor Thesis from the year 2017 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: 1,0, , language: English, abstract: This paper focuses on David Foster Wallace collected essays about tennis which is called String Theory. The five essays approach and use the sport for different goals. In his typical manner, tennis becomes a starting point for quite different topics, be it Wallace's own life, his thoughts on a literary genre (in this case "top athletes' autobiographies"), masculine physicality, transcendence, or the industry behind sports events. While stylistically Wallace follows the method of "thick description," injecting elements of metafiction and humor, he ultimately takes tennis as a starting point for ontological questions in his search for some form of deeper insight or even truth that can be found on the sidelines of his respective topic. His approach to writing essays and the function and possibilities of that literary form displays apparent similarities with the work of the protagonists of the so-called New Journalism. After a brief introduction to New Journalism as a mode of writing and some of its elements and key terms, the author will focus on Wallace's five tennis essays individually. In addition to connecting his M.O. to the tradition of New Journalism on the formal and content level, the author will provide a reading of each of Wallace's tennis essays with recourses to different theoretical approaches. In other words this paper will probe each essay for the question: about what is he really writing, how Wallace is doing it and why he chooses tennis of all things that functions as his way in. In addition to his work as a writer of fiction (his bibliography includes three novels and three short story collections) David Foster Wallace has written a large number of essays, most of them for magazines and newspapers. His topics range from literature and film to mathematics, from music and subcultures to travel and the tourism industry, from politics to food, and have been issued in numerous collections before and after his self-inflicted death in 2008.
As John Jeremiah Sullivan remarks in his introduction to String Theory, a collection of David Foster Wallace’s essays on tennis, tennis “may be [Wallace’s] most consistent theme at the surface level.” As once an elite junior professional himself, Wallace reflects on and writes from his own involvement in the sport, with the conditioning, strategy, and body-mind training that goes into it. In other essays of String Theory, Wallace reaches beyond his personal playing experience, observes professional tennis players with their incredible grace, and creates his own tennis playing students in Infinite Jest. Throughout these fictional and nonfictional accounts, he conceptualizes what such eminent athleticism entails. This paper will show that celebrated athleticism in Wallace’s work exhibits an embodimental métis, or an acute, crafty body-mind knowledge of its movement through space. Beyond only characterizing athletic movement, however, this paper argues that the same concept of métis extends to people with disabilities, including characters with disabilities in Infinite Jest. The same hyperawareness of corporeality, versatile methods of adjusting to oppositional contexts, and extraordinary complexity are shared by both groups. Using rhetorical scholarship on métis and disability theories of embodiment and social representation, this paper will draw parallels between the moving body-minds of athletic and disabled bodies and trace the implications of this analogy for Wallace’s work and disability studies.
Winner of the 2019 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing “The Circuit is the best sports book I've read in years, maybe ever.” —Rich Cohen, author of The Chicago Cubs and Monsters “As sports writing goes, The Circuit is unusual in the very best way. Rowan Ricardo Phillips writes with such fluidity, and packs the book with bursts of brilliance. This is a compulsively readable guide to one truly Homeric year of professional tennis.” —John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars An energetic, lyrical, genre-defying account of the 2017 tennis season. In The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey, the award-winning poet—and Paris Review sports columnist—Rowan Ricardo Phillips chronicles 2017 as seen through the unique prism of its pivotal, revelatory, and historic tennis season. The annual tennis schedule is a rarity in professional sports in that it encapsulates the calendar year. And like the year, it’s divided into four seasons, each marked by a final tournament: the Grand Slams. Phillips charts the year from winter’s Australian Open, where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal renewed their rivalry in a match for the ages, to fall’s U.S. Open. Along the way, Phillips paints a new, vibrant portrait of tennis, one that captures not only the emotions, nerves, and ruthless tactics of the point-by-point game but also the quicksilver movement of victory and defeat on the tour, placing that sense of upheaval within a broader cultural and social context. Tennis has long been thought of as an escapist spectacle: a bucolic, separate bauble of life. The Circuit will convince you that you don’t leave the world behind as you watch tennis—you bring it with you.
At the heart of the men’s tennis game for some years have been the Big Four: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal. Since 2006, only three other players have won a Grand Slam Tournament, and no one else has been ranked world No. 1. But since 2013, the dominance of the Big Four has come under sustained and increasing pressure. New players are challenging Djokovic, Federer, Murray, and Nadal. The rivalry between the old guard and (mostly) young contenders makes this the golden age of tennis. Nick Kyrgios beat Nadal in the fourth round of 2014 Wimbledon. In 2017, David Goffin beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo; Dominic Thiem beat Murray in Barcelona; Sascha Zverev beat Federer in Montreal; and Denis Shapovalov beat Nadal, also in Montreal. In The Future of Tennis Philip Slayton and Peter Figura examine a selection of the players outside of the Big Four and introduce the reader to the great depth of field in the men’s game and the personalities that enliven the sport. Complete with stunning photography by Figura, this book will answer questions about who some of the other players on the tour are, what drives them, their foibles and eccentricities, and more. The perfect gift for tennis aficionados!
Marshall Boswell examines the four major works of fiction David Foster Wallace has produced thus far: the novels The Broom of the System and Infinite Jest and the story collections Girl with Curious Hair and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
David Foster Wallace's extraordinary writing on tennis, collected for the first time in an exclusive digital-original edition. A "long-time rabid fan of tennis," and a regionally ranked tennis player in his youth, David Foster Wallace wrote about the game like no one else. ON TENNIS presents David Foster Wallace's five essays on the sport, published between 1990 and 2006, and hailed as some of the greatest and most innovative sports writing of our time. This lively and entertaining collection begins with Wallace's own experience as a prodigious tennis player ("Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley"). He also challenges the sports memoir genre ("How Tracy Austen Broke My Heart"), takes us to the US Open ("Democracy and Commerce at the U.S. Open"), and profiles of two of the world's greatest tennis players ("Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff About Choice, Freedom, Limitation, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness" and "Federer Both Flesh and Not"). With infectious enthusiasm and enormous heart, Wallace's writing shows us the beauty, complexity, and brilliance of the game he loved best.