|Pierce Egan (1772–1849)|
Pierce Egan was a British journalist, sportswriter, and writer on popular culture.
Egan’s parents were Irish migrants, but he may have been born in the London area. He went into the printing trade, and was a compositor for George Smeeton in 1812. He established himself as the country’s leading reporter of sporting events, which at the time meant mainly prize-fights and horse-races.
It was Egan who first defined boxing as “the sweet science”. Four volumes of Boxiana; or Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism appeared, lavishly illustrated, between 1813 and 1824. In 1821 Egan announced the publication of a regular journal: Life in London, appearing monthly at a shilling a time. It was to be illustrated by George Cruikshank (1792–1878), and was dedicated to the King, George IV, who at one time had received Egan at court. The first edition of Life in London or, the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, esq., and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and sprees through the Metropolis appeared on 15 July 1821.
It is believed that Live in London help inspire Charles Dickens in writing about the everyday people of London. While Dickens may have never read this work, it created a demand for works that were written in street talk.