Pour le SportPhysical Culture in French and Francophone Literature

Pour le SportPhysical Culture in French and Francophone Literature

Roxanna Curto and Rebecca Wines

Print publication date: 2022

ISBN: 9781800856899

Publisher: Liverpool University Press


This edited volume gathers together studies examining various aspects of physical culture in literature written in French from Europe and around the Francophone world. We define “physical culture” as the systematic care for and development of the physique, and interpret it to include not only sport in the modern sense, but also all the athletic activities that preceded it or relate to it, such as bodily forms of exercise, leisure, and artistic creation. Our essays pursue diverse interpretive approaches and focus on texts from a wide variety of periods (medieval to the present) and genres (short stories, novels, essays, poetry) in order to consider the fundamental—yet highly neglected—place of physical activities in literature and culture from the French-speaking world. Some of the questions the essays explore include: Does the genre “sports literature” exist in French, and if so, what are its characteristics? How do governments or other political entities mobilize sports literature? What role do narratives about sports—especially the creation of teams—play in the construction of national, regional and/or local identities? How is physical culture used in literary works for pedagogical or ideological purposes? To what extent do sports performances provide a metaphorical and figurative discourse for discussing literature and culture?

Table of Contents


Roxanna Curto and Rebecca Wines

Part I Physical Activities and Games Prior to the Twentieth Century

Part II The Tour de France

Part III The Stylistics of Running and Writing

Part IV Football Cultures

Part V Civilization, Marginalization, and National Identities