Culture of Bruising Critical Context - Essay

Gerald Early

Critical Context

In 1994, The Culture of Bruising won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, an indication that this select group of book reviewers and critics found Early’s work insightful and challenging. That same year, he released a memoir, Daughters: On Family and Fatherhood, that took up the concerns of his final two essays in The Culture of Bruising. His essay “Life with Daughters: Watching the Miss America Pageant” was selected by the prestigious Best American series for publication in Best American Essays of the Century (2000).

Gerald Early, the Merle King Professor of Modern Letters at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has earned a national reputation as an essayist and cultural critic. His writings offer penetrating insights into music (notably jazz), sports, and African American culture and politics and their impact on American culture. His other books include This Is Where I Came In: Black America in the 1960’s (2003), The Sammy Davis, Jr., Reader (2001), Miles Davis and American Culture (2001), and The Muhammad Ali Reader (1998). Early served as a consultant on documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’s films Baseball (2003) and Jazz (2004). Early’s essays on race and American sports continue to cut against the grain, challenging opinions both inside and outside the academy.