Disorder on the Court

Erik N. Jensen

in Body by Weimar

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395648
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866564 | DOI:
Disorder on the Court

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Tennis players in the 1920s expressed an unabashed sexuality and visible pursuit of fine living that appeared liberating to many Germans after the years of wartime and postwar austerity. Male players lavished attention on their personal grooming, style, and romantic liaisons, in open defiance of the Prussian ideal of discipline and self‐control. Instead, they modelled an alternative masculinity around aesthetic sensibility and self‐indulgence. Female players, meanwhile, projected a new aggressivity in matters financial and sexual, as well as athletic. Some top players even flouted the sport's amateur imperative by turning professional, pioneering the use of sports as an avenue of upward mobility, and modelling the possibilities of the “self‐made woman.”

Keywords: sexuality; masculinity; discipline; tennis; upward mobility; amateur; professional; self‐made; Prussian

Chapter.  15557 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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