A Penny for the Old Guy

Guy Fawkes looking like Salvador Dali

On this Guy Fawkes Day, I (Evander) ask the timely question of questions: Did the ringleader of the Gunpowder Plot play or watch cricket? According to our book, the earliest confirmed reference to cricket dates to 1598. This is the year Shakespeare’s theater was about finished, and seven years before Fawkes tried to fire-bomb his government. (At the time, Britain was led by King James I, formerly James VI of Scotland. There are much-earlier references to a bat-and-ball game taking place amid the hops of Kent, during the days of King Edward I: roughly three-hundred years before.) One suspects Fawkes was motivated by forces other than a county match on the village green. Similarly, I doubt T. S. Eliot had cricket in mind when he composed “The Hollow Men”, inspired by Joseph Conrad as much as by Guy Fawkes. But till we ask the hard questions, we’d never know.


About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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