This cannot wait for the weekly round-up! See this article in today’s CNN.com edition :
According to author Julian Norridge baseball originated in Britain, and part of his proof comes from a reference in Jane Austen’s novel “Northanger Abbey.”
Norridge, whose book “Can we Have our Balls Back, Please?” focuses on Britain’s role in writing the rulebooks for a long list of sports, says Austen mentioned baseball in the opening pages of “Northanger Abbey,” which was written in 1797-98.
Norridge says that Austen referenced the sport while introducing her tomboy heroine Catherine Morland, writing: “It was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of 14, to books.”
He argues in his book that the reference indicates British people were familiar with the sport prior to its supposed invention much later in the United States.
Can I have read this book so many times without that word jumping off the page?? Baseball is spelled “base ball” in my text …. but as a die-hard Yankees fan [OMG, what an admission!], I should have certainly at least noticed this! …. so I put this out to you, Kind Readers, and ask for your thoughts … and has anyone written about this before??
- see this reference for Rounders at Wikipedia
- Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf Blog
- Article at Telegraph.co.uk
- At Republic of Pemberley: a reference to Austen being the “first person to use this term in print for almost fifty years”