We are delighted to announce that David Snowdon’s book Writing the Prizefight: Pierce Egan’s Boxiana World has been chosen as the winner of the Lord Aberdare Literary Prize for Sports History (2013), awarded annually by the British Society of Sports History.
Congratulations to Dr Snowdon, who has been invited to deliver the prestigious Aberdare Lecture at next year’s British Society of Sports History conference.
Writing the Prizefight 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 book analyses Egan’s blend of inventive imagery and linguistic exuberance within the commentaries of the Boxiana series (1812-29). It also 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.
The book is available for purchase here.
Fiona Skillen’s monograph Women, Sport and Modernity in Interwar Britain was also highly commended by the prize committee as a runner-up.