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Aging, Anxious and Apocalyptic: Baseball's Myths for the Millennium

Aging, Anxious and Apocalyptic: Baseball's Myths for the Millennium

Chapter:
(p.243) Chapter 12 Aging, Anxious and Apocalyptic: Baseball's Myths for the Millennium
Source:
American Mythologies
Author(s):
Deeanne Westbrook
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853237365.003.0013

This chapter explores how the millennium features in four baseball novels: Robert Coover's The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. (1971), Mark Harris' It Looked Like For Ever (1979), W. P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe (1982), and Nancy Willard's Things Invisible to See (1984). Each of these works represents late-century anxiety, and each addresses ultimate fears and desires reflected in millennial omens. While millennial omens are by their nature disruptive, troublesome, or terrifying, their close association in baseball narratives with the game – and hence with summer, clement weather, life, youth, and play – while not stripping them of their grim implications, gives them peculiar or unexpected flourishes.

Keywords:   American culture, millennial omens, Robert Coover, Mark Harris, W. P. Kinsella, Nancy Willard, baseball novels

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