Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the last book I ever read (The Art of Fielding, excerpt nine)

from The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach:

Nineteen seventy-three. In the public imagination it was as fraught a year as you could name: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, withdrawal from Vietnam, Gravity’s Rainbow. Was it also the year that Prufrockian paralysis went mainstream—the year it entered baseball? It made sense that a psychic condition sensed by the artists of one generation—the Modernists of the First World War—would take a while to reveal itself throughout the population. And if that psychic condition happened to be a profound failure of confidence in the significance of individual human action, then the condition became an epidemic when it entered the realm of utmost confidence in same: the realm of professional sport. In fact, that might make for a workable definition of the postmodernist era: an era when even the athletes were anguished Modernists. In which case the American postmodern period began in spring 1973, when a pitcher named Steve Blass lost his arm.

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