Joyce Carol Oates: On Boxing

(3400 words)

Joyce Carol Oates's book-length essay On Boxing is at once a concise survey of the “unique, closed, self-referential world” inhabited by professional boxers (13) and a searching analysis of the cultural and metaphysical dimensions of prizefighting. Oates's lifelong fascination with boxing, sparked by her father's enthusiasm for the sport, intensified during the mid-1980s when she embarked on research for her novel You Must Remember This (1987), a vivid representation of post-war America that features pugilism as a prominent theme. The material gathered in the course of her research provided the basis for what would eventually become a study of America's most controversial sporting tradition. Although On …

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Sheridan, Julie. "On Boxing". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 November 2009
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]