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‘K is for Keeper’: the roles and representations of the English gamekeeper, c. 1880–1914

‘K is for Keeper’: the roles and representations of the English gamekeeper, c. 1880–1914 Abstract The gamekeeper was an important but controversial presence in the late Victorian and Edwardian countryside. Admired by some for his skills in woodcraft and deep understanding of nature, for others the keeper was much less benign: a destroyer of wildlife; a barrier against wider public access to the land; and the upholder of fiercely contested laws. At a time when debates about the land and its present and future use formed a major part of contemporary political discourse, and when an urbanising society was investing ever more meaning in its idea of the rural, consideration of the keeper takes us beyond the study of field sports towards broader histories of the English countryside and its attendant ruralist culture. Situating the keeper in a dual setting of material production and recreational service provision, the following examines both what he did and was expected to do, and the ways in which this was represented. Not only were keepers active agents in their own representation, eager to project themselves as skilled professionals, they might also elicit support from unusual quarters. As will be seen, keeper representation was as varied as his many roles. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Rural History Cambridge University Press

‘K is for Keeper’: the roles and representations of the English gamekeeper, c. 1880–1914

Rural History , Volume 33 (1): 22 – Apr 1, 2022

‘K is for Keeper’: the roles and representations of the English gamekeeper, c. 1880–1914

Rural History , Volume 33 (1): 22 – Apr 1, 2022

Abstract

Abstract The gamekeeper was an important but controversial presence in the late Victorian and Edwardian countryside. Admired by some for his skills in woodcraft and deep understanding of nature, for others the keeper was much less benign: a destroyer of wildlife; a barrier against wider public access to the land; and the upholder of fiercely contested laws. At a time when debates about the land and its present and future use formed a major part of contemporary political discourse, and when an urbanising society was investing ever more meaning in its idea of the rural, consideration of the keeper takes us beyond the study of field sports towards broader histories of the English countryside and its attendant ruralist culture. Situating the keeper in a dual setting of material production and recreational service provision, the following examines both what he did and was expected to do, and the ways in which this was represented. Not only were keepers active agents in their own representation, eager to project themselves as skilled professionals, they might also elicit support from unusual quarters. As will be seen, keeper representation was as varied as his many roles.

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Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press
ISSN
1474-0656
eISSN
0956-7933
DOI
10.1017/S0956793321000236
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The gamekeeper was an important but controversial presence in the late Victorian and Edwardian countryside. Admired by some for his skills in woodcraft and deep understanding of nature, for others the keeper was much less benign: a destroyer of wildlife; a barrier against wider public access to the land; and the upholder of fiercely contested laws. At a time when debates about the land and its present and future use formed a major part of contemporary political discourse, and when an urbanising society was investing ever more meaning in its idea of the rural, consideration of the keeper takes us beyond the study of field sports towards broader histories of the English countryside and its attendant ruralist culture. Situating the keeper in a dual setting of material production and recreational service provision, the following examines both what he did and was expected to do, and the ways in which this was represented. Not only were keepers active agents in their own representation, eager to project themselves as skilled professionals, they might also elicit support from unusual quarters. As will be seen, keeper representation was as varied as his many roles.

Journal

Rural HistoryCambridge University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2022

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