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Title: Review of Brailsford, D., 'A Taste for Diversions: Sport in Georgian England', Cambridge, The Lutterworth Press, 1999, 255pp., 20 plates, £15.00.
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 1997
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Abstract: This pleasingly printed clean-text volume is concerned with the debt owed by modern sport - in several English-speaking countries as well as to the mother country itself - to the very persistent sports of eighteenth century England before the impact of the Industrial Revolution. The general field has not been neglected so much as ignored in favour of foci on such matters as poachers, inns and crowds. Yet there have been many other very specific sports histories, such as Hylton Cleaver's 'A History of Rowing', 1957. Dennis Brailsford has been redressing this wider situation with such of his earlier books as: 'Sport and Society: Elizabeth to Anne' (1969); 'Bare Knuckles: A Social History of Prize-Fighting' (1988); and 'British Sport: A Social History' (1992; 1997). The "gentlemanly" sports of horse-racing, coursing, hunting, shooting and fishing, as practised in England, are shown to have not merely been gentlemanly but actually royal pursuits, and so doubly to be supported. Thus George I much facilitated horse-racing, while his immediate successors and descendants espoused cricket and tennis and patronised the prizefight. And Brailsford argues that the period 1790 to 1820 would establish a focus for place of events, time so devoted, patronage, spectator groups, and the structural elements of clubs, rules and arbitration. Another fascinating aspect of the establishing of the national sporting framework is provided by the equivalent political scene.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Lore and Language, 15(1-2), p. 198-200
Publisher: National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (NATCECT), University of Sheffield
Place of Publication: Sheffield, United Kingdom
ISSN: 0307-7144
Field of Research (FOR): 210305 British History
200299 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
160805 Social Change
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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