Round Two

It was Egan’s very public disagreement with the Boxiana publishers (Sherwood, Jones, & Co.)  that presented his great rival, Jon Bee, with the unexpected opportunity to supplant him as author of Boxiana IV (1824), the judge awarding Egan the right to continue his Boxiana writing on condition that any such text’s title was prefixed with ‘New Series’. Bee was the pseudonym of John Badcock (fl. 1810-30). Arguably, the 'Boxiana style' remained undiminished, with Bee’s approach allowing a seamless course for the series. This writer is an integral part of any study of pugilistic writing, which is further augmented by his editorship of The Annals of Sporting and Fancy Gazette (biannual, published 1822-28).


His lexical publication, Bee’s Sportsman’s Slang (1825), informs the debate on the specialist jargon of the ring, as well as the flash language of the Fancy. Unfortunately, some of Bee’s energy was channelled into a negative challenging of Egan’s proficiency. Bee had been so piqued by what he perceived as Egan’s efforts to either anticipate or eclipse him with rival publications that he permitted resentment to impinge upon his treatment of certain reports and lexicographical definitions.


‘The Interior of Modern Hell’ by Cruikshank,  The English Spy I.

A typical metropolitan scene that Egan and Bee (and the artist Cruikshank) probably witnessed.


Bee’s simmering jealousy prevented the prospect of collaboration with Egan. One area where the two men’s objectives coincided was the championing of the Fancy as a worthwhile social set, which embodied, and promoted, many supposedly ‘national’ qualities. Egan and Bee consistently attempted to portray the Fancy as culturally and morally enlightened; the creative process acting as a response against the group’s denigrators, who regarded the sport and its associated ‘flash’ writing as ‘low’.