Ring Lardner and Baseball

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by tmal, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. tmal

    tmal One of the Regulars

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    Yesterday I received a collection of Ring Lardner's baseball stories. It is a wonderful book. It's about baseball yes, but it is also about a whole lot of other things. It is funny, witty, intelligent, full of observations of human behavior including some behavior we would probably rather not observe. I never knew much about Lardner, but now I think he is a forgotten genius. If you are like me and have not read him; you should. My 0.02$.
     
  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    14,856
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    New York City
    I have read him and enjoy him. His style or genre - capturing a subculture of humanity / the day-to-day foibles of "regular" people - seemed to be a much more popular writing art form (for example Damon Runyon and, later, Pete Hamill) in the past than it is today. It seems there were all these marginal people scratching out odd livings through just-barely (or not) legal means who by force of will or personality could find little niches to survive (barely) in and people enjoyed reading about them.

    I'm sure that people like that (I know some) exist today, but they seem to get less press and literary attention than they did in the past.
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Lardner was one of the most perceptive sportswriters in a time when the emphasis was on "sportsWRITING" rather than the pot-stirring yahooism that infests most modern sports pages. He was writing baseball at a time when the game was more corrupt than it had been at any time before or since -- the Black Sox sellout, which he was one of the first writers to recognize, was only the tip of an extremely sleazy iceberg which floated thru the game in the pre-Landis era. A lot of his baseball fiction grew out of his disillusionment over what the game had become by the mid-1910s, with greedy owners and cynical players constantly looking for new ways to swindle each other. It was that greasy sleaziness which engulfed the game in the last years of the pre-Landis era which eventually drove Lardner away from sportswriting altogether.
     
  4. HadleyH

    HadleyH I'll Lock Up

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    If anybody is interested in Ring's life, times and friends( the Fitzgeralds are among his many friends) ...I highly recommend a bio that I have it's called The Lardners-- My Family Remembered by Ring Lardner Jr.


    "In the American aristocracy of achievement, the Lardners are among the bluest of blue bloods. In Ring Lardner, Jr they have found a chronicler worthy of his subject. The Lardners is a moving, comical, patriotic book."
    -Garson Kanin-
     
  5. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

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    Lardner as fiction writer was an expert stylist. Personally I find him much easier to read than Hemingway, and almost as much fun as his contemporary (and one-time lover, I think), Dorothy Parker. Anybody who wants to write nowadays needs to read all three of them. My father-in-law, a non-fiction writer himself, used to say that "Hemingway brought the English language back from rococo" -- but Lardner and Parker did it as well, and sometimes better.

    ETA: Lardner had a reputation as a humorist, so much so that people were always trying to tell him jokes. Someone would come up to him and roar, "Stop me if you've heard this one --" To which Lardner would invariably say, "Stop."
     

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