Literary Precedents for The Sportswriter

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In its story of a decent man who is confronted by a world beyond his ken and who retreats into himself, Ford is drawing from many predecessors. Henry David Thoreau is a forefather of Frank Bascombe, and his Walden (1854) describes beautifully the lives of quiet desperation that Frank exemplifies.

Another significant American predecessor is Ernest Hemingway, who in his short stories—particularly those featuring the character Nick Adams—and in his novel The Sun Also Rises (1927; please see separate entry) roams similar terrain. Hemingway's heroes are often men much put upon by life and trying to forge connections in a hostile world. Like John Updike, whose Harry Angstrom in the "Rabbit" novels is also considered a prototypical modern American male character, Ford has returned to his narrator at several different stages in his life to assess his current situation.

The most important literary forebear, however, is...

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This section contains 242 words
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