A reviewal of Pierce Egan in the study of English Sports History
Keiko IKEDA (Nara Women's University)
This study attempts to reconsiderate the importance of Pierce Egan (1772-
1849) in the study of English Sports History. The insufficient estimation to him
seems to be ascribed to the obscurity of his social saturation degree like the social
stratum around him and his influence to the people as a sports writer.
Therefore in order to clarify such a social saturation in those days, this study
assumpted the width of reading public as the foundation of his supporters from
his work's publication styles, the rate of people's reading ability, and reading
circumstances then (1); and also judged the extent of Egan's effect to the society,
and if contemporary people's criticism had been good or bad, through the amount
of his publication issue, contemporary people's comments, and how he had
contributed to compilation of the dictionary of language (2).
Egan's reading public can be grasped as a considerably wide one from such
a reader as bought a few penny chapbook or broadside to a reader who could buy
an expensive novel book like C. Dicken's and W. Scott's ones. Egan's plentiful
social influence and contemporary society's favourable comments to him are
surely admitted by numerous issues of his publications, especially which can be
seen in that of Life in London, the powerful social saturation of the caracters he
produced, and the relationship between George IV or a landed aristocrat, and him.
Some historians have considered Egan's assertion to 'sports' as a dogmatic
one until now. But Egan seems to have received a high estimation in the early
part of nineteenth century, which should not be ignored.
What should be considered is the fact that the Victorian value fixed after the
Egan's era had that of the George IV's day conversed a minus one.
It may be perceived that the nowadays study of sports history is located on
the extended line from the Victorian era which had given a negative value to
Egan. Therefore, in clarifying an actual state of popular sports: how people in the
early nineteenth century were involved in sports, a positive valuation have to be
given to Pierce Egan and the importance in reconsiderating his assertion or his
works should be pointed out.