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Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero by [Sprawson, Charles]
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Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sprawson, an English art dealer who swam the Hellespont, has produced a delightful, profound cultural and literary history of swimming, bathing and the social meanings of water from ancient Greece to the modern Olympics. Swimmers, he contends, frequently fall prey to delusions and neuroses spawned by their solitary training. Flaubert and Shelley had an "erotic, neurotic affinity with water"; Swinburne took a masochistic delight in being scraped by pebbles and pounded by waves; and novelist Baron Corvo (Frederick Rolfe), a passionate swimmer, bathed in "morbid self-admiration and absorption in a fantasy world." Sprawson deftly probes the differing values associated with swimming by various cultures. The English, who swam naked until the Victorian Age, saw bathing as a means of social reform. Germans from Goethe to Thomas Mann linked swimming to a Faustian quest for knowledge, to spiritual perfection and, in Leni Riefenstahl's films, to a cult of athleticism. In the U.S., according to Sprawson, swimming has been associated with refuge and withdrawal, citing as examples F. Scott Fitzgerald's fiction and David Hockney's paintings of Southern California. This invigorating excursion affords a fabulous dip with the likes of Poe, Byron, Virginia Woolf, Yukio Mishima, Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this poor execution of an intriguing idea, Sprawson, an art dealer who is himself an avid swimmer, attempts to explore swimming and swimmers from both a literary and cultural viewpoint. He quotes extensively from such writer/swimmers as Shelly and Byron, focusing primarily on English literature but adding chapters on German, American, and Japanese swimming experiences. He also considers modern film and architecture. Unfortunately, his book stands in need of extensive editing: the sentences are awkward and obtuse; the quoted excerpts do not fit smoothly into the text and are not adequately prefaced. Not recommended.
- J. Sara Paulk, Concord P.L., N.H.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • File Size: 5735 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (August 29, 2012)
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008TSC2MO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,054 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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on November 10, 2014
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on August 30, 2012
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on July 5, 2009
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on January 9, 2001
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on May 29, 2015
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on September 4, 2004
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