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Reading Wednesday - the vintage side

After last week's 1902-published college football novel (Behind the Line by Ralph Henry Barbour), I've continued reading some of the similar books I downloaded from Gutenberg.com, back when I first bought my e-reader. I've started keeping notes on the "vintage ouches" like racism, classism, etc..

Both of the ones I've finished since then are by Ralph Henry Barbour, as well. They've all been set in New England/upstate New York, so far as I can tell.

The Lucky Seventh (1915) is a baseball story about teenagers. Dick Lovering (sometimes called "Dickums"!), team manager, is on crutches due to a hip defect; he's the hero of the story, all-around smart and honorable, but gets random condescension and pity nonetheless. The rich kid, who isn't that bad, just a little selfish, is redeemed by the end, if having more friends is redemption; his rich dad, who wanted to sell the school baseball field, is redeemed once he sees the awesome-ness of baseball but he tries to teach one of the pov characters to be more mercenary. There's a kid who stutters - nicknamed "Fudge" - all his friends like to get him excited so he'll stutter, to show affection (?). Fudge also writes stories, which are over-the-top melodramatic, but by the end he's writing more realistic stuff. Vintage medicine: Rich kid Morris breaks his leg in two places, and is bedridden for 6 weeks. Women: Gordon's mom, barely seen but who appears to be from a sitcom of the 1950s; the ineffectual mom of a kid Dick is tutoring; Morris' mom, who won't make decisions but gives them to her husband; and Morris' little sister, who is okay because she likes to play tennis and supports the baseball team.

The Crimson Sweater (1907) covers a range of sports, beginning with football and ending with baseball, with some cross-country running and rowing in between. And of course, lots of lessons about Sportsmanship. Women: a tomboy, aged 14, nicknamed "Harry." She has many pets and volatile emotions, but can skate really fast. Her mother appears very briefly in passing. Vintage ouches: teenagers acting as blackface minstrels in a show; cultural appropriation of Native American tribe names when camping; mild teasing of the kid who is slightly heavier than the rest, but still plays sports.

Currently, I'm reading an Angela Brazil novel, The Jolliest Term on Record, which is rife with equal-opportunity racism and classism, which I am noting down for your delectation.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2013 02:57 pm (UTC)
Heh, yeah, Jolliest Term is one of the more ouchie of her books. Not that the others are particularly better, but they manage to not constantly point fingers at it.


Edited at 2013-03-27 02:58 pm (UTC)
Mar. 27th, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
I actually flinched!
Mar. 27th, 2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
So did I, and never finished it. (It didn't help that the title already put me off.)

Mar. 27th, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC)
I am still not certain why the term is so very jolly. Perhaps when the one kid turns out to actually inherit money instead of being screwed over by her uncle. Which hasn't happened yet, but likely will soon.
Mar. 28th, 2013 02:50 am (UTC)
He's not quite in the period you're reading, but have you ever read the somewhat more modern John R. Tunis? He's best known for his baseball stories, but my favorite is "Iron Duke" in which a kid from Iowa (I think) goes to Harvard and becomes a track star. Much to my surprise, when I looked Tunis up on Wikipedia just now, I found that "The Kid from Tompkinsville" was considered an influence on Bernard Malamud's "The Natural," and Mark Harris' "Bang the Drum Slowly." The Kid himself, Roy Tucker, appears in Philip Roth's "American Pastoral." Wow, who'da thought.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


oracne - Victoria Janssen

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