Throughout history, potters, sculptors, painters, poets, novelists, cartoonists, song-writers, photographers, and filmmakers have recorded and tried to make sense of boxing. From Daniel Mendoza to Mike Tyson, boxers have embodied and enacted our anxieties about race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. In her encyclopedic investigation of the shifting social, political, and cultural resonances of this most visceral of sports, Kasia Boddy throws new light on an elemental struggle for dominance whose weapons are nothing more than fists.
Looking afresh at everything from neoclassical sculpture to hip-hop lyrics, Boddy explores the ways in which the history of boxing has intersected with the history of mass media. Boddy pulls no punches, looking to the work of such diverse figures as Henry Fielding and Spike Lee, Charlie Chaplin and Philip Roth, James Joyce and Mae West, Bertolt Brecht and Charles Dickens in an all-encompassing study that tells us just how and why boxing has mattered so much to so many.