Writing the Prizefight

Pierce Egan’s "Boxiana" World

by David Snowdon (Author)
Monographs XII, 259 Pages


This book won the Lord Aberdare Literary Prize for Sports History (2013)
This book focuses on the literary contribution made by the pugilistic writing of Pierce Egan (c. 1772-1849), identifying the elements that rendered Egan’s style distinctive and examining the ways his writing invigorated the sporting narrative. In particular, the author analyses Egan’s blend of inventive imagery and linguistic exuberance within the commentaries of the Boxiana series (1812-29). The book explores the metropolitan and sporting jargon used by the diverse range of characters that inhabited Egan’s ‘Pugilistic Hemisphere’ and looks at Egan’s exploitation of prizefighting’s theatricality. Another significant theme is the role of pugilistic reporting in perpetuating stereotypical notions relating to British national identity, military readiness and morality. Consideration of Egan’s metropolitan rambles is complemented by discussion of the heterogeneity, spectacle and social dynamics of the prize ring and its reportage. The book traces Egan’s impact during the nineteenth century and, importantly, evaluates his influence on the subsequent development of sporting journalism.


XII, 259
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2013 (July)
sporting narrative linguistic exuberance morality sporting jargon
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2013. 259 pp., 2 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

David Snowdon (Author)

David Snowdon completed his PhD at Newcastle University in 2008. He was employed as academic tutor at Sunderland University, where he lectured on Victorian literature. He continues, in an independent capacity, to undertake further scholarly research and to maintain Eganesque multimedia resources including a website, www.pierce-egan.co.uk.


Title: Writing the Prizefight