Cricket and the Victorians fills a gap in the literature on the social history of England during the nineteenth century. It is based on the premise that the Victorians and Victorianism cannot be properly understood unless their approaches to leisure, sport and recreation are carefully examined. In accounting for cricket’s emergence at that time as England’s national game, this book examines its relationship to the Victorian mores and ethos and stresses the influence of the religious and academic institutions in promoting it to a position of prominence. Based mainly on extensive research in secondary and periodical materials, the study tries also to explain how and why the cult of cricket spread so rapidly to so many parts of the empire. Cricket in nineteenth-century England became a useful tool used by the political and cultural élite as an instrument of socialisation especially during an important age of transition when society was attempting to adapt to the processes of industrialisation and urbanisation. Aimed as much at a general readership as at undergraduates with a special interest in sports history, it throws much new light on Victorian amateurs, professionals, crowds and evolving cricket techniques.
'…wide-ranging and perceptive…Thoroughly recommended.' The Journal of the Cricket Society
Contents: Prolegomena; The Georgian legacy; The impact of Muscular Christianity; The great cricket explosion; Amateurs and professionals; Victorian cricket crowds; Technique and technology; Cricket and Empire; Close of play; Bibliography; Index.