Reference > Cambridge History > The Victorian Age, Part Two > Caricature and the Literature of Sport > “Nimrod”
  The Literature of Pugilism and Hunting Surtees  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VI. Caricature and the Literature of Sport.

§ 15. “Nimrod”.


When Lockhart said of “Nimrod” that he could “hunt like Hugo Meynell and write like Walter Scott,” he was doubtless excited into exaggeration by the pleasure of having hit upon a man who could write of sport without the vulgarity of Egan. “Nimrod,” whose name was Charles James Apperley, was a man of education, a country squire and a genuine sportsman. Loss of means turned him to literature; he contributed articles on sport to The Sporting Magazine, The Quarterly Review and other journals; but is best known by his two books, The Life of a Sportsman, and Memoirs of the Life of John Mytton, both of which were illustrated with coloured engravings by Alken. The Life of a Sportsman, published in 1842, contains a very pleasant account of country life in days when sport was no longer confused with debauchery; while its descriptions of runs to hounds, its lore of hunting and of four-in-hand driving 4  and its variety of incident and anecdote make it still both valuable and agreeable. Apperley, though not a Walter Scott, was a good writer; he knew his subject thoroughly, on both the scientific and the personal sides, and this work of fiction, though poor in plot, is rich in interest. Memoirs of the Life of John Mytton appeared as a book in 1837, a portion of the work having been printed in The New Sporting Magazine in 1835. It shows a difficult task performed with fidelity and tact. Apperley had been Mytton’s neighbour in Shropshire, and had extended to him all the care that was possible when both were living in Calais in order to avoid their creditors. Apperley’s task was to write the life of a man who, while he was one of the most heroic sportsmen that ever lived, was also drunken, diseased and insane; and he performed the task with admirable judgment.   23

Note 4. For the driving of stage-coaches, see Cross, Thomas, The Autobiography of a Stage Coachman, 1861. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The Literature of Pugilism and Hunting Surtees  
 
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