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The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton
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The Compleat Angler (1653)

by Izaak Walton, Charles Cotton, Izaak Walton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This English classic is known, at least by name, to nearly everyone. Is it a textbook on fishing? Yes, but it is much more than that. Written as a dialog between the Angler and various country folk such as shepherds, farmers and milkmaids, the instructions on catching fish are interspersed with a delightful hodge-podge of rural anecdotes, character studies, moral lessons, recipes, songs and poetry. The practice of angling is portrayed as practically the perfect occupation, teachings as it does the skills of reasoning and observation of Nature together with the virtues of patience and harmony. The second author listed after Walton, Charles Cotton, was his adopted son who was a skilled fisherman in his own right. Cotton wrote the section on fly-fishing as Walton had little knowledge of that area.
  TrysB | Jul 28, 2012 |
Considering this was first published in 1653 the language is fun to stumble over; full of 'methinks,' 'thee,' 'tis,' that sort of thing. At first blush I would have said this is a nonfiction story of three gentlemen walking through the countryside bragging about their respective "hobbies." One man is a falconer, all about the birds. Another man is a hunter, primed for the kill. The third man is, of course, the fisherman, the angler. It is this man we learn the most from (hence the title of the book). There is a great deal more to the story - an 17th century "how-to" on cooking, inn-keeping, religion, poetry and the like, but I got incredibly bored and gave up halfway through.
As a postscript, I did enjoy the illustrations by Boyd Hanna in my undated edition. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 15, 2011 |
I have long loved this book, and it is well worth noting that the illustrations, in this edition, are by Arthur Rackham. ( )
  sskwire | Jun 27, 2011 |
I'm not the slightest bit interested in fishing, but love this for its ramblings about all sorts of other matters, and the delightful descriptions of how to cook your catch when you get home, or repair to the local inn.
  PollyMoore3 | Jan 25, 2011 |
You probably should enjoy fishing, nature, or English cultural history to really enjoy this book, but if you do, it's easy to love this book. Walden keeps his eye on the subject at hand (fishing, if you didn't get it from the title), but manages to work into this 'instruction' book a bit of 17th century 'science', manners, cooking, and a general picture of how it could be for a gentleman on a outing into the countryside.

An enjoyable read, and the antique English adds to the experience, rather than getting in the way.

Os. ( )
  Osbaldistone | Jan 16, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walton, Izaakprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cotton, Charlesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Walton, Izaakmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorsline, DouglasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Simon Peter said, I go a fishing : and they said, We also wil go with thee. John 21. 3.
Dedication
To the right worshipful John Offley, esq., of Madeley Manor, in the county of Staffordshire
First words
PISCATOR. You are well overtaken, gentlemen, a good morning to you both; I have stretched my legs up Tottenham Hill to overtake you, hoping your business may occasion you towards Ware, whither I am going this fine, fresh May morning.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The first part by Izaak Walton, 1653. The second part by Charles Cotton, 1678.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375751483, Paperback)

For a book to stay in print for nearly 350 years, its merits must continually entice and allure. The Compleat Angler satisfies that on two counts. On the most obvious level, it remains as good a primer on fishing as any angler would want. But its most enduring distinction--what's raised an essential sporting how-to to the level of literary classic--is the one cast off by its subtitle; Izaak Walton's sometimes convoluted 17th-century grammar can still reel in our imaginations with his graceful evocations of a life free from hurly-burly in the company of friends intent on physical and moral sustenance. "He that hopes to be a good Angler must not only bring an inquiring, searching, observing wit," suggests the master, "but he must bring a large measure of hope and patience.... Doubt not but Angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be like a virtue, a reward to itself." Just like Walton's magnificent literary catch.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:49 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

First published in 1653, 'The Compleat Angler' is a celebration of the art and spirit of fishing combining verse, song and folklore, moral reflections, and timeless wisdom.

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