From Ritual to Record by Allen Guttmann Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Ritual to Record is not the first attempt of Allen Guttmann at sports analysis and writing. He has written three books and many articles on a variety of topics but mostly connected with history and literature. His passion for history probably propelled him in the direction of sports writing in this book where he studies the growth of sports in various cultures and focuses on the concept of modern sports. The author has done a great job at studying the phenomenon called modern sports in the broader context of cultural change and modern America culture. The thesis of the book revolves around modern sports and what makes it distinct and unique. The author argues that since sports have existed since time immemorial, the one thing that sets modern sports apart from ancient and pre-modern games is the "is the scientific world-view." Guttmann maintains that while sports existed in every part of the world, they are inherently different from country to country because of the impact of differing cultures. He argues that ritual has always been an important part of sports and agrees with Carl Diem who wrote that "all physical exercises were originally cultic" (16). The author believes that sports had a ritualistic significance till the 18th century when people focusing more on records, statistics and quantification.

In other words, the mathematical discoveries of the seventeenth century were popularized in the eighteenth century, at which time we can observe the beginnings of our modern obsession with quantification in sport. During the Age of the Enlightenment, we can see the transition from the Renaissance concept of "measure" in the sense of moderation and balance, to the modern concept of measurement. . The emergence of modern sports represents neither the triumph of capitalism nor the rise of Protestantism but rather the slow development of an empirical, experimental, mathematical Weltanschaurtng. (p.85).

Guttmann divides his book in six chapters with each one serving a different purpose. For example the first one focuses on definition of sports while the second…

Sources Used in Document:


1) Guttmann, Allen. From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports.

New York: Columbia University Press, 1978.

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