Shakespeare and Baseball
Reflections of a Shakespeare Professor and Detroit Tigers Fan
Imprint: 1804 Books
220 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: March 2024
- Published: March 2024
Shakespeare and baseball are polar monuments of high and popular culture: Shakespeare is the most widely read and staged playwright in the world, and baseball is America’s game. Professor Samuel Crowl, a prize-winning teacher and international scholar of Shakespeare on film, explores his life as a champion of the Bard and a fan of the Detroit Tigers. He saw his first Tigers game in the summer of 1950 (Hal Newhouser beat the Chicago White Sox) and his first Shakespeare play in 1953 (Alec Guinness as Richard III at Ontario’s Stratford Festival) and has spent almost seventy-five years enjoying and writing about the pleasures of play that each provides.
Shakespeare and Baseball is an unusual hybrid combining Crowl’s education as a Shakespeare and baseball fan, the resonances he perceives between the playwright and the game, the unexpected pleasures both forms of play have afforded his extended family of children and grandchildren, and a selection from the seventy letters he has written to them about Tigers games he has seen, from old Tiger Stadium, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and the Jake to Comerica Park.
Crowl finds unexpected connections between his twin subjects, including beer, which funded and fueled both the establishment of Major League baseball clubs, like the Yankees and Cardinals, and the creation of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, visited by Shakespeare enthusiasts from around the world. A deeper linkage is that Shakespeare’s festive comedies kept the ideas, rituals, and customs of rural England alive in the dense urban world of Elizabethan London, just as baseball kept the image of the garden—the rural American past in which the game took shape—alive in the twentieth-century American city. The book is written in a style that captures what one reader has called Crowl’s “warm, rich midwestern voice” and will be of interest to fans of the game and of the Bard, from high schoolers on up.
Baseball and Shakespeare continually have a 'generational problem,' and what Samuel Crowl sets out to do is remind us of the parallel pleasures of both. Shakespeare and Baseball succeeds not only as a completely original work about our national sport and the plays of Shakespere but also as an endearing story of a family's love affair with baseball and the Detroit Tigers. — Ralph Cohen, Gonder Professor of Shakespeare at Mary Baldwin College and Cofounder of the American Shakespeare Center
If baseball had been invented earlier, William Shakespeare would have been the greatest baseball writer of all time and Samuel Crowl would have become a professor of baseball. Crowl's memoir of his life's passions is a grand slam. — Tony Grossi, author, commentator, and sports analyst
In Shakespeare and Baseball, Samuel Crowl regales the reader with the pleasures of play and the glories of the game from the ballpark to the playhouse. Reading this book is an almost kinetic experience, moving seamlessly between exquisitely detailed accounts of Detroit Tigers games, classic Shakespeare performances, travelogue, family history, and memoir. With an easygoing narrative voice, Crowl draws the reader into the story of a midwestern kid chasing baseball’s field of dreams to coming-of-age as a scholar and founder of a new academic field: the study of Shakespeare on film. Shakespeare and Baseball is a poignant, intellectually rewarding, and inspired chronicle of a life fueled by love and the shared wonders of the Bard and America’s game. — Courtney Lehmann, Tully Knoles Professor of the Humanities at the University of the Pacific