Reel Women: Women and Angling inEighteenth-Century England

Smith, Nicholas D.
International Journal of the History of Sport, 20:1, 28-49
This article examines the nature and degree of women's participation in angling in eighteenth-century England. Literary and pictorial evidence suggests that the sport was popular among ladies of the landed classes, and one sportsman-poet attempted to collapse the male hegemony associated with angling and promote it as a heterosocial sport. However, there were dissenting voices among the angling fraternity and an article in the Sporting Magazine (1819) attempted to construct an alternative discourse in order to preserve the sport's gender divisions. Furthermore, women's involvement in angling became implicated in discourses on cruelty to animals since it was not seen to conform to the moral and behavioural expectations of these (male) writers.


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