Towards the third dimension: CLR James and his influence on sportswriting

Robert Steen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


“It is sui generis - simultaneously a memoir, a sociological study, a literary-critical exercise and a work in cultural studies.” Thus did Ramachandra Guha recently praise the manifold, timeless and boundary-crossing appeal of Beyond the Boundary.Indeed, so wide is that appeal, it even ranked No.36 in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Sports Books of All Time (2002), a list shamelessly dominated by US authors to whom cricket is a pesky insect. No cricket book, moreover, is more revered by cricket writers. The fact remains, nonetheless, that CLR James’s masterpiece was not a book in the traditional sense but a collection of articles culled from decades of work, most of it journalistic. As such, it has had an impact on journalists as well as authors and academics. But what kind of impact? Specifically, has the book affected sportswriters in general or solely those dealing with the unique challenges of cricket? This paper will sift through and analyse the evidence, drawing on the author’s own experiences, particularly in the pressbox. Having written about many other sports besides cricket, and read BYB at a formative stage, there is no question, personally speaking, that it exerted an enormously challenging and liberating influence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond A Boundary 50th Anniversary Conference
Place of PublicationGlasgow University
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2013
EventBeyond A Boundary 50th Anniversary Conference - Glasgow University, 5 May 2013
Duration: 11 May 2013 → …


ConferenceBeyond A Boundary 50th Anniversary Conference
Period11/05/13 → …


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