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Writing the Prizefight

Pierce Egan’s "Boxiana" World

David Snowdon

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.

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Aaron, Barney 23 Ackroyd, Peter 74, 76, 77, 78 Allardice, Robert Barclay 15, 20, 72, 87, 89, 213 Americans (US) 12, 14, 31, 53, 106, 113, 150, 153, 180, 203, 217–18, 222 Badcock, John see Bee, Jon Barclay, Captain see Allardice, Robert Barclay Barrymore, Earl of 88 Beardsworth, John 177 Beaumont, Barber 170, 176 Bee, Jon 17, 29, 36, 127, 178, 204 Boxiana IV 17, 29, 55, 61, 65, 72, 80, 84, 86, 94–6, 99, 102, 106, 112, 114, 119, 127, 132, 142, 145, 150, 151, 156, 159, 160, 165, 169, 172, 175, 202, 204, 208 Sportsman’s Slang 17, 25, 35, 38–43, 63, 89, 144, 146, 154, 166, 174 The Annals of Sporting and Fancy Gazette 17, 22, 60, 68, 80, 85, 105, 124, 154, 155, 171, 173, 174 Belasco, Abe 86, 111, 112, 131 Belcher, Jem 1, 2, 5, 50 Belcher, Tom 19, 52, 76, 81, 107, 156, 157, 194 Bell’s Life 27, 134, 209, 210, 212 ‘Blackmantle, Bernard’ (Charles Molloy Westmacott) 194, 195 Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 8, 25–6, 28, 124, 163, 186, 187, 194 Blücher, Marshall 134 Boxiana see Egan, Pierce and Bee, Jon Boxing Reviewed 2, 3, 22, 56, 108, 136, 141, 172, 201, 207, 233 Bristol 11, 48, 80, 101, 107, 159, 160, 201 Broughton, John 9, 133 Broughton’s rules 9–10 Burney, Frances 206 Burns, Bob 80, 131, 146 Byron, Lord 6, 9, 32, 47, 49, 57, 92, 93, 103, 134, 148, 162–3, 173, 175, 188, 217 Don Juan...

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