WHEN WALKING WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT SPECTATOR SPORT. Adam Gopnik also had an article in the New Yorker (September 1) which reviewed Matthew Algeo’s PEDESTRIANISM: WHEN WATCHING PEOPLE WALK WAS AMERICA’S FAVORITE SPECTATOR SPORT. During the period from 1860 to 1890, events in which men competed to see who could walk the most miles in a six day period were popular in both England and America. Mary Jane and I read all of Peter Lovesey’s detective stories depicting aspects of Victorian culture (for example, the enthusiasm for Jerome K Jerome’s THREE MEN IN A BOAT). One of them was called WOBBLE TO DEATH. The story involved a murder at a “wobble”. A six day walking race was called a “wobble” back in Victoria’s day because of the wobbling of the competitors as they reached the limits of their capabilities. (Adam Gopnik says that after a time, the races “were competitions in not sleeping”.)

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