The Literature of Roguery - Vol. 2

By Frank Wadleigh Chandler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
ADVENTURERS AFLOAT AND ASHORE

1. Cockney Rogueries

WHILE romantic readers acknowledged the charm of Scott's novels, the matter-of-fact found delight in the Cockney sketches of Pierce Egan. Glorious Pierce," first of sporting editors, patron of the ring and the turf, was the idol of half England in the twenties. If his Boxiana," Walks through Bath," Sporting Anecdotes," and "Picture of the Fancy" were popular, what shall be said of "Life in London," which set a fashion in literature and fathered (according to the author) sixty-five publications and plays? To have read it was a passport to sporting society, and to emulate its "day and night scenes of Jerry Hawthorne, Esquire, and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and sprees through the metropolis," was the ambition of every young blood.

Although Thackeray, among others, has recorded his early impressions of Life in London," it is difficult to understand the enthusiasm once aroused by so vulgar a chronicle. No doubt Pickwick Papers too far outdid this original in humor and in character drawing to admit of its satisfying the public thereafter. Yet as a monument to the late Georgian conception of seeing life, it is still of interest.

The work was issued in monthly numbers, beginning in July, 1821. It affected italics, capitalization, doggerel, flash,

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