Heirs to Tom Brown’s School Days: Ralph Henry Barbour, Arthur Stanwood Pier and the Elite School Hockey Story before World War I
My CART Summer Grant application proposes to complete the research and writing of a c.35-page scholarly book chapter. This chapter is titled “Heirs to Tom Brown’s School Days: Ralph Henry Barbour, Arthur Stanwood Pier and the Elite School Hockey Story before World War I,” one of five chapters (plus introduction and epilogue) in my book manuscript called The Hockey Boys: A Study in the History of Juvenile Sporting Fiction. This book studies the literary construction of national character in these years through a rich, but underused source: the scores of sports novels and short stories for boys produced during the heyday of the “pulps,” 1890s-1940s. Scholars have identified this popular literature as a vehicle celebrating quintessential American traits; but boys’ sports fiction simultaneously constructed otherness, articulating difference from the American ideal. In those stories that involved winter settings and the sport of ice hockey, almost invariably Canada and Canadians appear. In American hockey stories, the game was used as a canvas on which national cultures were played out, even between cultures as ostensibly similar as Canada and the U.S. Though fictional, these accounts betray an ambivalence that American writers and readers had about hockey (and by allegorical extension, Canadian culture), its capacity for instilling “American” values. This book will examine and interpret the meaning of those depictions, drawing examples from a study of more than 50 novels and 350 short stories (from pulp fiction magazines such as Ace Sports, Thrilling Sports and Sport Story magazines) written by popular and well-rounded authors of the day, including Ralph Henry Barbour, Harold Sherman, and Leslie McFarlane. Principally a study in American social history, this book will find an audience among scholars in Cultural Theory, Sports History and Canadian Studies as well. Among the contemplated chapters for this book are Introduction -“Boys Fiction and Hockey History”; Chapter 1 - “Heirs to Tom Brown: Ralph Henry Barbour, Arthur Stanwood Pier and the Elite School Hockey Story before World War I”; Chapter 2 - “Harold Sherman: Toward a New American Boyhood in the 1920s”; Chapter 3 - “Leslie McFarlane: Complicating the American Boy”; Chapter 4 - “Canadians, French Canadians, Country Boys, Girls and Other Others: The Hockey Story as Normalizer”; Chapter 5 - “Objects and Subjects: Cartoons, Illustrations and the Narrative Meanings of Fictional Hockey”, and Epilogue - “The Hockey Boys and their Successors.”
Holman, Andrew C. (2010). Heirs to Tom Brown’s School Days: Ralph Henry Barbour, Arthur Stanwood Pier and the Elite School Hockey Story before World War I. CARS Summer Grants. Item 21.