“What Is Sport?”: Who better to answer than Barthes?

You won’t find this text, written by Barthes to accompany a TV documentary called Le Sport et les hommes, which the Canadian Broadcasting Company aired in 1961, in either of the two editions of the thinker’s Oeuvres complètes. (Some Oeuvres complètes!) Broken up into five brief sections — on bullfighting, car racing, cycling, hockey, and soccer — the long overdue paperback is full of the kinds of quips and pithy profundities one expects from philosophy (and TV) done the French way. When Barthes writes, “Sport is the entire trajectory separating a combat from a riot,” we can only wish he were still around today.

What Is Sport?

Roland Barthes

Yale University Press