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THE WRITING OF THE 'TREATISE'
Alfred Duggan
May 13, 1957
BEGINNING the extraordinary tale of a 15th century English nun who launched five centuries of sport and literature: THE LADY AND THE TROUT
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May 13, 1957

The Writing Of The 'treatise'

BEGINNING the extraordinary tale of a 15th century English nun who launched five centuries of sport and literature: THE LADY AND THE TROUT

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By the way, she never lays down the proper length of a line. I suppose it varied with the individual fisherman: as far as you can cast and a little bit over.

The frontispiece of her book shows a typical angler. He is sensibly and plainly dressed, though he has neither pockets, wallet nor purse; he must have carried all his gear in the tub shown in the background. He wields his great rod with one hand. It must have been very hard work.

There may never have been a Juliana Berners. Perhaps her name was invented to lend tone to a miscellany of sporting pieces. I myself believe she was a real person and author of the Book of St. Albans , for reasons I have given at the beginning of this essay. I like to think of the elderly prioress casting her flies in the convent garden, while through her mind run memories of the great hunts she had seen as a young girl at the court of King Henry. When she has finished her book of weighty instructions on hawking, hunting and heraldry, she thinks it might be amusing to add an appendix, something about the placid angling which occupies her old age. Five hundred years later the stately hunting "at force" which she described has long vanished and, save for a few rare enthusiasts, no sportsman mans a hawk. But the little afterpiece on the least important of her many pastimes is a living book today.

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