Baseball as Metaphysics

Baseball as Metaphysics

Baseball as Metaphysics

Baseball as Metaphysics


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"Cohen is a superfan, and he has written an intellectual manual for his co-religionists. They know who they are and they will cherish this manual. But anyone who has spent a soft, green afternoon, his shirt open at the throat to the sun, the whistles and chatter of the infield drifting up to the edge of his mind, watching, absorbing, taking in a baseball game, will cherish it."

— From the introduction by Jim Bouton, former Major League pitcher and author of the 1970 controversial bestseller Ball Four.

Originally published in 1974 as Baseball the Beautiful: Decoding the Diamond, this new paperback edition has been completely reformatted and contains the full text of the original version. According to the bio that Marvin Cohen, now 86, wrote for his website, the original publisher took the liberty of changing the book's now restored title "for commercial feasibility and to bring in the lumbering lowbrow audience."

This new edition also contains a later essay that did not appear in the original, and the author has also written a new foreword.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780692967515
Publisher: Richard Schober d/b/a Tough Poets Press
Publication date: 11/15/2017
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.23(d)

About the Author

Marvin Cohen is an American essayist, novelist, playwright, poet, humorist, and surrealist. He is the author of nine published books and several plays. His short fiction and essays have appeared in more than 80 publications, including The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Nation, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Fiction, The Hudson Review, Quarterly Review of Literature, Transatlantic Review, and New Directions annuals. His 1980 play The Don Juan and the Non-Don Juan was first performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival as part of the Poets at the Public Series. Staged readings of the play have featured actors Richard Dreyfuss, Keith Carradine, Wallace Shawn, Jill Eikenberry, Larry Pine, and Mimi Kennedy.

Born in Brooklyn in 1931, Cohen has described himself as one who has "risen from lower-class background to lower-class foreground." He studied art at Cooper Union but left college to focus on writing, supporting himself with a series of odd jobs including mink farmer and merchant seaman. He also taught creative writing at The New School, the City College of New York, C.W. Post of Long Island University, and Adelphi University. Cohen currently lives in New York City with his wife, a retired paperback editor.

Table of Contents

11 - Foreword by Marvin Cohen

13 - Introduction by Jim Bouton

15 - The Baseball Season's Latest Birth

17 - Baseball Praised: For Its Objective Self, Measurable and Clean-Cut, Balanced and Precise; and for Its Accommodation to the Imaginative Subjectivity that a Fan May Personally Place on Its Altar

21 - The Ravings of a Baseball Fanatic

23 - The Poetic Wellspring at Its Purest on the Youthful Field

25 - Growing Up Along with Baseball and Acquiring an Old-Timer's Scale of Pure Nostalgia

29 - Dreaming Into Baseball

37 - A Meditation on "Ball"

41 - Appreciations for Simple Things

45 - A Ball Game as a Self-Designed Artwork Pushing Through Time to Its Form

47 - The Chance Factor, in Tight Games, for the Graying Manager, or for the Headlessly Bellowing Fan, in Different Ways of Being Moved by the Fair or Foul of That Ball After Heaven and Earth Are Moved to Anticipate What Turned Out to Cross into the Unknown with That Strange Air of Surprise

51 - Baseball as Scale and Structured Language to Articulate Everything by Its Coded System, Enhancing the Significance of All That Falls Within It

55 - Primitive Superstition, Religious Helplessness Before the Unknown: The Farmer's Analogy

59 - Rite and Play; Mime and the Release From the Workaday, a Purging into Play

61 - Pagan, Ritualistic, and Religious Resemblances to Plain Old Baseball

63 - Aggressive, Hostile, Offensive—to Win. Belligerence by Rules. The Warring Instinct at Work

65 - There'll Be a Decision: The Sense of an End Swaying Thought and Deed While the End Is in the Making

57 - The Ballplayers' Sociology: Belonging on the Field

69 - The Tragically Short Span of Excellence; the Brief Term of a Player's Fading Glory

71 - Tradition: A Base for Appraising

73 - The Innumerable Angles, Each a Total Focus of Vision: Varieties of Views Reflecting on a Central Touchstone

75 - The Performer Engaged in His Action—Flowing into Art

77 - Players Spaced Apart: Dull for Television Viewing? But the Players Are Brought Closer by the Ball: Though Body Seldom Conjoins with Body

79 - The Imaginative Faculty Decreased by Television Surplus

83 - The Whole Team, Feeding on Individual Talents

87 - Specialists Before Us—The Watcher’s Privilege

91 - The Long Season Means Higher Drama, If ...

93 - Exercises in Baseball as a Way of Fiction

99 - Opera and Baseball: Audacity's Darlings, in Their Brother-Bond of Sheer Excess: Transcendent Transports into "Immature" Exuberance and Otherworldly Heights. The Fans' Delirious Communal

105 - A Structure for Containing the Miraculous and Grading Mysteries, a System of Revelation by Degrees: Baseball's Universe

107 - The One Constant, Gliding in Our Midst

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