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Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour. With Ninety…
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Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour. With Ninety Woodcuts by John Leech and… (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1853; vuoden 1911 painos)

– tekijä: R.S. Surtees

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1513139,851 (3.46)1
Robert Smith Surtees (17 May 1805 - 16 March 1864) was an English editor, novelist and sporting writer, widely known as R. S. Surtees. He was the second son of Anthony Surtees of Hamsterley Hall, a member of an old County Durham family.e left for London in 1825, intending to practise law in the capital, but had difficulty making his way and began contributing to the Sporting Magazine. He launched out on his own with the New Sporting Magazine in 1831, contributing the comic papers which appeared as Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities in 1838. Jorrocks, the sporting cockney grocer, with his vulgarity and good-natured artfulness, was a great success with the public, and Surtees produced more Jorrocks novels in the same vein, notably Handley Cross and Hillingdon Hall, where the description of the house is very reminiscent of Hamsterley. Another hero, Soapey Sponge, appears in Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour, possibly Surtees best work. All Surtees' novels were composed at Hamsterley Hall, where he wrote standing up at a desk, like Victor Hugo.In 1835, Surtees abandoned his legal practice and after inheriting Hamsterley Hall in 1838, devoted himself to hunting and shooting, meanwhile writing anonymously for his own pleasure. He was a friend and admirer of the great hunting man Ralph Lambton, who had his headquarters at Sedgefield County Durham, the 'Melton of the North'. Surtees became Lord High Sheriff of Durham in 1856. He died in Brighton in 1864, and was buried in Ebchester church.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:pc1951
Teoksen nimi:Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour. With Ninety Woodcuts by John Leech and Thirteen Coloured Illustrations
Kirjailijat:R.S. Surtees
Info:Methuen (1911), hardcover, 7th printing, 1930, 580 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:sporting

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour (tekijä: Robert Smith Surtees) (1853)

  1. 00
    FLASHMANIN SEIKKAILUT (tekijä: George MacDonald Fraser) (thorold)
    thorold: Mr Sponge is more interested in horses and money, and less in women, than Flashman, but the two are very much part of the same tradition.
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näyttää 2/2
It's about a man of limited means who acquires three rented horses, puts on airs and basically invites himself to the homes of various folk in the countryside so he can attend fox hunts (which he also invites himself to). He banks on the fact that nobody knows him, to be able to get away with things- people pretend they know of him to avoid looking ignorant, and he lets them make assumptions about his social position etc, takes advantage of free room and board until he seriously wears out his welcome, and they make efforts to throw him out. Then he moves on, finding someone else who had extended (in mere politeness) an invitation, which he takes them up on suddenly. Eventually enough people in the district hear of him that he finds himself staying with people who aren't so well-to-do, and he is thoroughly dissatisfied. He tries to get himself invited back to one of the other households, and starts to wonder at his predicament- no money, no income, and apparently no more invitations forthcoming.

All this time he is involved in some kind of horse-dealing scams- showing off his horses (hiding their faults of course) and selling them, but then making the buyer so discomfited they pay him to take the horse back (once pressured by empty threat of a lawsuit). So he makes money off these horses that aren't even his. He doesn't seem too skilled at foxhunting although more into it than some of the other characters- lots of them apparently participate just to make a show of themselves- and has a curious obsession with studying a book of 'bus schedules and fares that he carries around. A lot of the book isn't about Mr. Sponge at all (most of the names pointedly emphasize something about each character) there are entire chapters just describing the people who will be his next set of hosts. Lots of curious folk with different quirks and habits...

I was interested in reading the descriptions of the hunts, the various ways in which they were conducted and the parts about the horses. Most of this seems to be character studies and obviously intended as humor, although I sometimes missed the point. I did like it just for the fact that it described a way of life long gone by, so very different in many ways. . . . and the ink illustrations are very clever- depicting the various characters with a lot of humor.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Dec 30, 2016 |
I've never made a particular effort to read Surtees - although I'm fairly interested in the mid-Victorian period, I'm not a horsey, doggy sort of person, and have only the mildest interest in rural "sports". However, a couple of people recently recommended me to try him, and thanks to Project Gutenberg it's free to read once you've got an ebook reader...

Mr. Sponge's sporting tour is a picaresque novel chronicling the efforts of a shady character called "Soapy" Sponge to make his fortune while living off simple-minded fox-hunting folk. He gets a bunch of unreliable horses on sale or return from a dodgy secondhand horse dealer, and travels around getting a selection of increasingly appalling hosts to accommodate him and the horses for nothing. From time to time he manages to do a horse deal, and every two or three chapters there's a description of a fox-hunt. The mood and style are rather reminiscent of Thackeray (indeed, Surtees makes frequent allusions to WMT), with a wide range of rackety country gentry and dubious "sporting gentlemen" and "trumpets". The big difference, though, is that Thackeray allows some of his characters to have good qualities, even if generosity and altruism are usually cancelled out by folly or naïveté. In Surtees, everyone is out for what he or she can get: greed and sensuality are the only motivations for action. Characters differ largely in the particular degree of cunning or foolishness they display.

The satire is enjoyable, although at this distance in time it sometimes comes across as rather heavy-handed. What's also fascinating is the way the book observes a particular moment in the development of English society, when the Georgian pattern of social relations was starting to be upset by the new possibilities of inexpensive travel provided by the railways. Landowners are still inclined to believe that anyone who turns up on their doorstep with a string of horses and a plausible story must be a man of substance: as Mr Sponge demonstrates time after time, this was no longer a safe assumption. Twenty years later, Sponge would never have got away with it, as the definition of "gentleman" became much narrower, but around 1850 there were still plenty of "real" gentlemen who had never been to school, spoke local dialect, and scorned to pay tradesmen's bills.

Surtees is famous for his descriptions of hunting, of course. They are clearly well done - he manages to convey something of the excitement of riding across country at breakneck speed even to a non-rider - but it still seems to be a somewhat idiotic occupation, even as he describes it. ( )
1 ääni thorold | Apr 28, 2009 |
näyttää 2/2
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The author gladly avails himself of the convenience of a Preface for stating, that it will be seen at the close of the work why he makes such a characterless character as Mr. Sponge the hero of his tale.

Preface to the original edition.
It was a murky October day that the hero of our tale, Mr. Sponge, or Soapey Sponge, as his good-natured friends call him, was seen mizzling along Oxford Street, wending his way to the West.

Chapter I. Our hero.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Robert Smith Surtees (17 May 1805 - 16 March 1864) was an English editor, novelist and sporting writer, widely known as R. S. Surtees. He was the second son of Anthony Surtees of Hamsterley Hall, a member of an old County Durham family.e left for London in 1825, intending to practise law in the capital, but had difficulty making his way and began contributing to the Sporting Magazine. He launched out on his own with the New Sporting Magazine in 1831, contributing the comic papers which appeared as Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities in 1838. Jorrocks, the sporting cockney grocer, with his vulgarity and good-natured artfulness, was a great success with the public, and Surtees produced more Jorrocks novels in the same vein, notably Handley Cross and Hillingdon Hall, where the description of the house is very reminiscent of Hamsterley. Another hero, Soapey Sponge, appears in Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour, possibly Surtees best work. All Surtees' novels were composed at Hamsterley Hall, where he wrote standing up at a desk, like Victor Hugo.In 1835, Surtees abandoned his legal practice and after inheriting Hamsterley Hall in 1838, devoted himself to hunting and shooting, meanwhile writing anonymously for his own pleasure. He was a friend and admirer of the great hunting man Ralph Lambton, who had his headquarters at Sedgefield County Durham, the 'Melton of the North'. Surtees became Lord High Sheriff of Durham in 1856. He died in Brighton in 1864, and was buried in Ebchester church.

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