The Art and Aesthetics of Boxing

The Art and Aesthetics of Boxing

Language: English

Pages: 204

ISBN: 0803213867

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

What separates the chaos of fighting from the coherent ritual of boxing? According to author David Scott, it is a collection of aesthetic constructions, including the shape of the ring, the predictable rhythm of timed rounds, the uniformity of the boxers’ glamorous attire, and the stylization of the combatants’ posture and punches. In The Art and Aesthetics of Boxing, Scott explores the ways in which these and other aesthetic elements of the sport have evolved over time. Scott comprehensively addresses the rich dialogue between boxing and the arts, suggesting that boxing not only possesses intrinsic aesthetic qualities but also has inspired painters, graphic designers, surrealist poets, and modern writers to identify, expand, and respond to the aesthetic properties of the sport. Divided into three parts, the book moves from a consideration of the evolution and intrinsic aesthetics of boxing to the responses to the sport by cubist and futurist painters and sculptors, installation artists, poster designers, photographers, and, finally, surrealist poets and modernist writers.
With distinctive illustrations and photographs in nine short chapters, Scott creates a visual as well as a textual narrative that supplements and concretely demonstrates the deep, dynamic relationship between the art of boxing and the world of art and literature.












Ring and introduced mufflers or gloves (also known as “broughtons”) for boxing training (figure 9). The early gloves were made of chamois leather or kid and stuffed with Indian grass or hair. As many commentators have emphasized, the importance of the reintroduction of boxing gloves can scarcely be overestimated. Saving boxing novices (as an advertisement for Broughton’s Academy affirmed) the “Inconvenience of Black Eyes, Broken Jaws and Bloody Noses,” Broughton’s mufflers made possible a

in the human sphere, in particular in moments of physical combat or intimacy, undoubtedly verges on the obscene, and this point certainly seems to have been reached in current televisual transmission of boxing. In addition, the fighting technique of the boxers themselves has become influenced 23 fr a ming violence by the knowledge of the way it is presented, the emphasis on big blows and knockouts perhaps giving less opportunity to display other, less spectacular though nonetheless telling,

with poets and painters actually going at it. ok, Georges Braque loosened up with a sandbag in the morning, and Picasso is said to have enjoyed boxing — but only until André Derain showed him that the game isn’t just about hitting, but getting hit. David Scott is not only a professor of literature trained in semiotics, he is a light middleweight who has fought on both sides of the Atlantic. You don’t have to know this fact to find Scott’s book interesting, but it is one of the things that gives

because boxing continues to hold a deep appeal for the masculine psyche, the charmed circle of the square ring exerting a fascination that for some can be exorcised only through a physical involvement within it. As we saw, the ring represents a theater in which a personal and physical challenge has to be met under the unrelenting gaze of one’s fellows in a situation of clarity and focus that is 138 boxing and moder n m asculinit y perhaps more intense than in any other sport. As is commonly

second layer of analysis is mediated by the representation of boxing in specific artworks, that is, objects or images that are themselves aesthetic, and through which some of the otherwise hidden or obscure dimensions of the aesthetic transformation of violence through boxing become more readily apparent. Finally, in the third part, devoted to the analysis and representation of boxing in modern writing — poetic, fictional, and critical — t he aesthetic dimension of boxing is further illuminated

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