November 27, 2012
Sports and Leisure in the 18th Century and Now
Throughout history people have always found ways to entertain themselves and others. While reading about the Eighteenth century, the topic of leisure came into play with events such as dances, parties, walks, writing, and parlor games. During the Eighteenth century, sports and leisure were much more synonymous than with what we are used to today. The literary works of Eighteenth century writers, such as Samuel Richardson, Frances Burney, Jane Austen, and Stefanie Meyer, help to illustrate the different ways in how sports evolved from the Eighteenth century to the sports we see today, as well as how the correlation between sports and leisure have changed.
We see sports on television all the time, and they have become a strong part of the American culture. Baseball, for example, is known as the American past- time, but how did this come to be? In the books that we read that took place in the Eighteenth century, such as Pamela, Evelina, and Pride and Prejudice, there is no real mention of sports of the time. So if sports were not mentioned in these very popular and famous works, does this mean they did not have them or were they just not nearly as much a part of their culture as today? The truth is that sports weren’t a large part of the culture at the time, but is it also true that during this time period the seeds for modern day sports and leisure were planted. Also another major reason for the omission of references to sporting activities in these books is due to the nature of the stories being told, namely love stories or courtship narratives. So the main focus by the authors was not always on how the characters spent their leisure time, but more about establishing the background for the development of the relationships in the books. When the books did talk about the characters’ activities, the authors spent more attention focusing on social gatherings, like...