The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus By Duncan Hamilton

    Neville Cardus described how one majestic stroke-maker ‘made music’ and ‘spread beauty’ with his bat. Between two world wars, he became the laureate of cricket by doing the same with words.

    In The Great Romantic, award-winning author Duncan Hamilton demonstrates how Cardus changed sports journalism for ever. While popularising cricket – while appealing, in Cardus’ words to people who ‘didn’t know a leg-break from the pavilion cat at Lord’s’- he became a star in his own right with exquisite phrase-making, disdain for statistics and a penchant for literary and musical allusions.

    Among those who venerated Cardus were PG Wodehouse, John Arlott, Harold Pinter, JB Priestley and Don Bradman. However, behind the rhapsody in blue skies, green grass and colourful characters, this richly evocative biography finds that Cardus’ mother was a prostitute, he never knew his father and he received negligible education. Infatuations with younger women ran parallel to a decidedly unromantic marriage. And, astonishingly, the supreme stylist’s aversion to factual accuracy led to his reporting on matches he never attended.

    Yet Cardus also belied his impoverished origins to prosper in a second class-conscious profession, becoming a music critic of international renown. The Great Romantic uncovers the dark enigma within a golden age. The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus

    Duncan Hamilton á 0 characters

    Duncan Hamilton is one of my favourite authors and rightly a multiple winner of the William Hill Sports Books award. This offering is a biography of Neville Cardus, the father of modern cricket (and perhaps even sports) writing. It's an ode not just to Cardus but to sports writing itself.

    I knew nothing of Cardus, but Hamilton brings his character and genius alive. In the end, he is quite a melancholic character. Like another reviewer here, I found the book's pace dropped around two-thirds of the way through, matching the period when Cardus' own life lost its way. Nevertheless, a great read for any fan of sport. Hardcover Duncan Hamilton, along with Gideon Haigh, are my favourite cricket writers. This is a superb biography of the prince of cricket writers, Neville Cardus. Makes you want to read more of Cardus' writing. Hardcover A really beautifully written book, about someone I had almost no interest in before I was given this book as a gift by a fellow cricket lover. It paints a brilliant portrait of a hugely influential writer, and remains a wonderful read even though I have little love for the snobbery and elitism that goes with the wonderful game of cricket, and that sometimes seems close to being celebrated here. Hardcover A really well written & interesting book.
    Duncan got inside the man who made cricket reporting an art and introduced me to some Cricketers I did not know as well as come childhood heroes.
    This is a beautifully written and researched book about a man and an era that deserves more attention & recognition.
    An interesting Read.
    Recommended. Hardcover This is actually a lovely book, despite the niche subject. I really enjoyed it, because cricket is funny... once you love it, you will get enjoyment out of anything related to it, even if you get thrown into a world that‘s long gone, full of people you have barely even heard of. Hardcover

    At one point, the author recalls listening to John Arlott talking about Neville Cardus, and says it was akin to listening to Coleridge talking about Wordsworth - and yet the way in which this passage (and many others was written), it was like reading Shelley talking about Coleridge talking about Wordsworth....

    Whilst Cardus' iconic status as the English cricket writer was inherited by Arlott, Hamilton makes a re-concerted claim to be the next heir to the throne via this beautiful biography of one of our greatest sports writers.

    Yes, it follows a fairly linear historical narrative line, but there is always enough time to digress slightly into an anecdote, a vignette on a cricketing character, or a homilific reflection on life. Some of the descriptive writing, both borrowed from the subject of the book (some of his descriptions of travelling across Britain to cover one game after another are pure joy) and originated by the author, are everything the very best of descriptive writing ought to be. It excels on so many fronts.

    If there is a criticism, and there has to be, the book loses its way a little in the middle, in the same way that Cardus' own middle life seemed to lose purpose and direction. We never really got to understand why Cardus forsook England for Australia for so many years, and though there are hints, there is no satisfying explanation for it, and maybe we're left just a little bit short on the understanding of an immensely complex character.

    If you are at all interested in the history of cricket, if you enjoy brilliant writing, if you like to relieve England in times gone by, you don't want to miss this book. It's a little eclectic, so probably not for everyone, but for the right reader, this is a little caviar and champagne treat! Hardcover Perfectly adequate, easy to read, extended magazine article in the roseate, sepia-tinged tones of non-critical, cliche-ridden, supposed lyrical prose.

    Finished it because it was a Christmas present from someone I am fond of.

    The irony is that the book is telling us that Neville Cardus was a great because he invented the modern way of writing about cricket. This book is an example of the modern way of writing about cricket. To have invented it is not a sign of greatness. I don't dispute that Cardus may have been a great writer. Better scribes than Hamilton have held that opinion. The one credit I will give the book is that I am now curious to read some actual Cardus. Curious, but not in any great rush.

    This book will suit you down to the ground if you were a fan of Michael Parkinson waxing on about the great days of Yorkshire cricket. If you have a solid grammar school respect and believe that superior people should be referred to by their many initials, really superior people by their nicknames and those from a working background by their forenames then you will like this.

    Rose-tinted, unreliable nostalgia that says very little other than the author had been in search of another subject for a book.

    I repeat. There is nothing wrong with the book if you want an easy, extended-dentist-waiting-room-style read. One for the boomers and farts. Hardcover From BBc radio 4:
    Neville Cardus described how one majestic stroke-maker 'made music' and 'spread beauty' with his bat. Between two world wars, he became the laureate of cricket by doing the same with words.

    In The Great Romantic, award-winning author Duncan Hamilton demonstrates how Cardus changed sports journalism for ever. While popularising cricket - while appealing, in Cardus' words to people who 'didn't know a leg-break from the pavilion cat at Lord's'- he became a star in his own right with exquisite phrase-making, disdain for statistics and a penchant for literary and musical allusions.

    Among those who venerated Cardus were PG Wodehouse, John Arlott, Harold Pinter, JB Priestley and Don Bradman. However, behind the rhapsody in blue skies, green grass and colourful characters, this richly evocative biography finds that Cardus' mother was a prostitute, he never knew his father and he received negligible education. Infatuations with younger women ran parallel to a decidedly unromantic marriage. And, astonishingly, the supreme stylist's aversion to factual accuracy led to his reporting on matches he never attended.

    Yet Cardus also belied his impoverished origins to prosper in a second class-conscious profession, becoming a music critic of international renown. The Great Romantic uncovers the dark enigma within a golden age.

    Read by Toby Jones
    Abridged by Polly Coles
    Produced by Clive Brill

    A Brill Production for BBC Radio 4


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000... Hardcover It is perhaps surprising that the winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year for 2019 was not a book about a sportsperson, a sporting event or even the politics or economics of sport, but a sportswriter. But Neville Cardus was an exceptional character, whose own blandly-titled Autobiography was a mega-seller when it was published in 1947. Born on the wrong side of the tracks in a late-Victorian Manchester slum, his mother and aunt were part-time prostitutes, but the young Cardus was determined to write, and through a superhuman effort of self-education in The city’s public libraries and an addiction to the works of Dickens, he eventually landed a junior reporter job on the Manchester Guardian. By chance he was soon packed off to Old Trafford to cover a cricket match. The occasion proved to be a tipping point and he never looked back. Cardus transformed the hitherto mundane process of cricket reporting into an art, his prose gaining the admiration of writers as diverse as Samuel Beckett, Siegfried Sassoon, Harold Pinter and P. G. Wodehouse. Although The Great Romantic focuses on Cardus’s cricket writing, he forged an equally successful parallel career as an astute and highly regarded classical music critic.
    Duncan Hamilton’s book is as much a lively and amused survey of cricket’s golden age between the wars as it is a biography of Cardus. Packed full of larger than life characters, fascinating anecdotes and a crystal-clear sense of time and place, it’s pretty much unputdownable. The character of Cardus himself could have been borrowed from a novel, his private life as complex and surprising as the game he spent his life writing about. Hardcover I have to confess to not knowing much about Neville Cardus before reading this book. I have to confess now to feeling somewhat ashamed not to have known much about him any earlier. For, as Duncan Hamilton says, Cardus made modern sports-writing, something perhaps he (or anyone, for that matter) could probably only have done when writing about cricket. And what cricket! Cardus, as Hamilton says, had seen W.G. Grace in the bulbous flesh. He witnessed the march of cricket history and wrote about it affectionately and evocatively. And Hamilton does a wonderful job of doing justice to the man and his unusual life and career. Hardcover

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