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The Essential G. E. M. Skues Hardcover – October 1, 1998
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Had there been no real flesh-and-blood George Edward Mackenzie Skues, doubtless a G.K. Chesterton or P.G. Wodehouse would have simply created him. Born in 1858, Skues was one of those classically British characters whose very essence and long life--he died in 1949--managed to tie the Victorian world to the 20th century. He was tweedy, literate, formal, and avuncular; a confirmed bachelor, he wore a monocle, practiced law, had memberships in clubs, loved the theater, and counted among his dinner companions Oscar Wilde and the African explorer Henry Morton Stanley. All of which serves as footnote to his legacy: a transcendent zeal for trout fishing and the wonderful words he left behind on that sometimes rancorous, always fulfilling love.
Skues wrote as elegantly, perceptively, and passionately on fishing as anyone has before or since, and this collection of his best work--theory and practice, philosophy, fiction, and poetry--displays his enormous skills and his agile mind with great affection and care, with each selection presented in context. Known as the father of nymph fishing in an era when going beneath the surface was considered less than cricket, Skues's prose is at its most deftly spirited in its (and his) defense: "Nymph fishing is a comparatively new art," he wrote late in his life, "or perhaps it would be fairer to say a new phase of an old and largely forgotten art ... [but] the dry fly became a sort of religion and any attempt to revert to the older practice was regarded as a sort of sin against the Holy Ghost for which there was no remission." The sin today is how much of Skues's work has been cast below the surface of availability. The Essential G.E.M. Skues atones mightily for that horrible sin. --Jeff Silverman
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Robson lets Skues tell his own story, using selected passages from his many writings. He weaves them together brilliantly. The result is an insightful look at the life of Skues, the English period, and the many observations of fly fishing that Skues made. A must for anyone interested in the history of fly fishing.
For more, visit- simpsonflyfishing.com
If you've made your way to this title, then you really shouldn't hesitate. It's your loss, frankly...
The background insights regarding fishing in England during those years and the correspondence with American fly fisherman, make this a wonderful historical read as well.
I can't recommend it enough.