Love Game: A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon

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9781846689109: Love Game: A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon
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"Hers is a sporting history unlike any I've read—one that, in its sophistication and thoughtfulness, shows up the hollowness of most other accounts."—The Observer

Tennis' gladiatorial beauty, stylish duelling, and fashionable court-wear make it a romantic's dream. Ever since young men and women first came together to play on vicarage lawns, this most Victorian of games has always had a peculiarly passionate undercurrent—love even makes it into the scoring system. And passion is included in other forms—the rivalry of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and John McEnroe's legendary angry outbursts.

Beyond the romance, tennis has always been a barometer of the times. French star Suzanne Lenglen was a celebrity trailblazer, Jimmy Connors channeled punk, and Wimbledon's Henman Hill is unrecognizable from the days when the All England Club ostracised working-class Fred Perry—the great English tennis champion who is now more famous as a leisure clothing brand than a sportsman.

Love Game is the must-have companion for tennis fans during the 2015 US Open. It tells the story of tennis' journey from upper-middle-class hobby to global TV spectacle, taking in the innovators and trendsetters, the great players, heroes, and iconoclasts, and the politics, class wars, and culture clashes of what could rightfully be called the "beautiful game".

Elizabeth Wilson is currently visiting professor at the London College of Fashion and is the author of several nonfiction books. Her novels The Twilight Hour, War Damage, and The Girl in Berlin are also published by Serpent's Tail.

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About the Author:

An independent researcher and writer best known for her commentaries on feminism and popular culture, Elizabeth Wilson is currently Visiting Professor at the London College of Fashion. She is the author of several non-fiction books, and her novels The Twilight Hour (9781852424770), War Damage (9781846686504) and The Girl in Berlin (9781846688270) are also published by Serpent's Tail.

Review:

Excellent ... Wilson makes a passionate, partisan case that tennis should be treated differently from all other sports. In fact tennis shouldn't be treated like a sport at all, but should instead be seen as a kind of burlesque gymnastic seduction, a business of passion and, above all, of love. Tennis, Wilson argues, has been tarnished by being lumped in with more mainstream sports, with their linear scoring systems, their slavishly enacted win-lose-draw dynamic. It should instead be kept apart from the world in its own tennis-shaped love-box, allowed to bloom and bud as it wishes, a thing of beauty to be stroked and cosseted and made much of. -- Barney Ronay Guardian Hers is a sporting history unlike any I've read - one that, in its sophistication and thoughtfulness, shows up the hollowness of most other accounts. -- William Skidelsky Observer A love-all letter to the beautiful, sweaty, glorious, grunting game Saga A richly textured history distilled through an illuminating private passion Literary Review A fascinating and passionate history -- Ben East Metro

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