A Polite Exchange of Bullets: The Duel and the English Gentleman, 1750-1850
This book, the most comprehensive study of the English pistol duel yet undertaken, examines what it meant to be a man of honour in eighteenth and nineteenth century England. A thorough survey of the incidence and distribution of duelling, both socially and geographically, identifies those sub-groups of gentlemen most likely to duel. The author considers the mores and manners of such groups and asks why it was that within specific professions, minor slights could only be requited by a demand for satisfaction. In doing so, the author rejects those traditional histories of duelling which have failed to engage with the internal dynamics and internal logic of the phenomenon itself. Too often historians have explained the rise of opposition to duelling in terms of social and cultural change whilst at the same time treating the duel as though its ideological content had become irrevocably fixed in the early seventeenth century. Honour culture too had a social and an intellectual history and the author outlines those conflicts of ideas within the culture of honour itself that did much to hasten the demise of the English duel. A Polite Exchange of Bullets will be welcomed as a fresh approach to an important social phenomenon by all those interested in duelling and in English social and cultural history. STEPHEN BANKS is a lecturer in criminal law at Reading University Law School and co-director of The Forum of Legal and Historical Research.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Abbott accept affair army asserted Bayley became behaviour British Capt captain Cardigan claim combat conduct consequence convicted courage court Dalton death declared decline defendant duel duel was caused duellists Duke eighteenth century elite encounter England English evidence fact fatal fight fire Floyer Fort St George fought French Frevert gentlemen History of Duelling homicide honour culture honour disputes Hull Advertiser Hyde Park Ibid indicted interests John judge Justice killed King’s Bench lawyers letter London Lord Camelford malice manslaughter Marquis of Londonderry McAleer middle class military Millingen Mirfin Mohun murder Napoleonic Wars newspaper nineteenth century observed occasioned offence officers Old Bailey one’s opponent parties Peltonen political prosecution provoke proxemic quarrel refused regiment remarks reported responded Sanquhar seems Shoemaker shot social society suggest surgeon sword tion trial Upper Canada verdict violence William William Peel Wimbledon Common Winchilsea wounded