Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yankee Doodle: The American Humorist's Take on Victorian Angling

Yankee Doodle: The American Humorist's Take on Victorian Angling

When I was working on my dissertation (which dealt with the ├╝berexciting subject of British travel writing in the Balkans), I would consistently be distracted by the British humor journal Punch. Punch was a legendary satirical political journal that took swipes at all aspects of British culture. One of my favorite things to do was to leaf through the oversized folios of Victorian issues of the journal searching for jokes about angling. Every few issues, Mr. Punch--the namesake figure of the journal--would take a few barbed jokes at the aristocratic angler. Someday I'll get around to scanning these and putting them up here on the blog.

The cover of Yankee Doodle showing the trademark character.

It is interesting to note that America had its own version of Punch entitled Yankee Doodle. Yankee Doodle took the same satirical format and transplanted it into the uniquely American culture. It got its start in 1846, with its own namesake in the form of the character Yankee Doodle, and immediately began lampooning many aspects of American culture.

Unfortunately, Yankee Doodle was not a success. It lasted less than two years, but during this time, it touched on the subject of American angling on several occasions.

A typical kind of angling parody.

A humorous take on fishing.

It would be nearly four decades after the failure of Yankee Doodle before America would have another satirical journal in the form of Puck.

-- Dr. Todd

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