The Compleat Angler  

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The Compleat Angler (1653) is a book on fishing by Izaak Walton. The book is a central element in the film Nymphomaniac (2013) by Lars von Trier.

The Compleat Angler

The Compleat Angler was first published in 1653, but Walton continued to add to it for a quarter of a century. It is a celebration of the art and spirit of fishing in prose and verse; 6 verses were quoted from John Dennys's 1613 work The Secrets of Angling. It was dedicated to John Offley, his most honoured friend. There was a second edition in 1655, a third in 1661 (identical with that of 1664), a fourth in 1668 and a fifth in 1676. In this last edition the thirteen chapters of the original had grown to twenty-one, and a second part was added by his friend and brother angler Charles Cotton, who took up Venator where Walton had left him and completed his instruction in fly fishing and the making of flies.

Walton did not profess to be an expert with a fishing fly; the fly fishing in his first edition was contributed by Thomas Barker, a retired cook and humorist, who produced a treatise of his own in 1659; but in the use of the live worm, the grasshopper and the frog "Piscator" himself could speak as a master. The famous passage about the frog, often misquoted as being about the worm—"use him as though you loved him, that is, harm him as little as you may possibly, that he may live the longer"—appears in the original edition. The additions made as the work grew did not affect the technical part alone; quotations, new turns of phrase, songs, poems and anecdotes were introduced as if the author, who wrote it as a recreation, had kept it constantly in his mind and talked it over point by point with his many friends. There were originally only two interlocutors in the opening scene, "Piscator" and "Viator"; but in the second edition, as if in answer to an objection that "Piscator" had it too much in his own way in praise of angling, he introduced the falconer, "Auceps," changed "Viator" into "Venator" and made the new companions each dilate on the joys of his favourite sport.

The best-known old edition of the Angler is J. Major's (2nd ed., 1824). The book was edited by Andrew Lang in 1896, followed by many other editions.

In film

In the 1946 thriller Terror by Night, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), about to board a train, encounters Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey) on the same train, ready to presumably go on a vacation, and loaded down with fishing gear. He later tells Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) that Lestrade is on the train "giving an excellent imitation of Izaak Walton". Lars Von Trier entitled the first chapter of his Nymphomaniac (2013) The Compleat Angler and used Walton's text as the source of his first digression in the film.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Compleat Angler" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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