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Body by Weimar

Erik N. Jensen

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395648
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395648.001.0001
Body by Weimar

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Body by Weimar argues that male and female athletes fundamentally recast gender roles during Germany's turbulent post‐World War I years and established the basis for a modern body and modern sensibility that remain with us to this day. Athletes in the 1920s took the same techniques that were streamlining factories and offices and applied them to maximizing the efficiency of their own flesh and bones. Sportswomen and men embodied modernity — quite literally — in all of its competitive, time‐oriented excess and thereby helped to popularize, and even to naturalize, the sometimes threatening process of economic rationalization by linking it to their own personal success stories. Enthroned by the media as the new cultural icons, athletes radiated sexual empowerment, social mobility, and self‐determination. Champions in tennis, boxing, and track and field showed their fans how to be “modern,” and, in the process, sparked heated debates over the limits of the physical body, the obligations of citizens to the state, and the relationship between the sexes. If the images and debates in this book strike readers as familiar, it might well be because the ideal body of today — sleek, efficient, and equally available to men and women — received its first articulation in the fertile tumult of Germany's roaring twenties. After more than eighty years, we still want the Weimar body.

Keywords: Weimar Germany; modernity; athletes; gender; body; boxing; tennis; track and field; rationalization; roaring twenties; cultural icons

Book.  188 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Body by Weimar

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Disorder on the Court in Body by Weimar

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Belle of the Brawl in Body by Weimar

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German Engineering in Body by Weimar

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Conclusion in Body by Weimar

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