Fishers' Craft and Lettered Art provides editions, English translations, and analysis from social, cultural, and environmental perspectives of the three oldest European extended tracts on fishing. Richard Hoffmann discusses the history of fishing in popular culture and outlines the economic and ecologic considerations needed to examine and understand the fishing manuals. Hoffmann further explores how continental fishing traditions were conveyed from oral craft practice into printed culture, and proposes that these manuals demonstrate a lively and complex interaction between written texts and popular culture. The tracts are presented in their original languages - Spanish and German - with facing page translations. Close attention is paid to original setting, functions, and possible range of readings, with detailed explanatory notes to help modern fishers and historians. Fishers' Craft and Lettered Art is a fascinating look at one vital aspect of everyday life at the end of the Middle Ages.
Richard Hoffmann is Professor at York University in Toronto, Ontario, and has a long-standing interest in fishery and the history of fishing. His previous book, Land, Liberties and Lordship in a Late Medieval Countryside (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989) won the Herbert Baxter Adams prize of the American Historical Association, and honourable mention for the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize of the Canadian Historical Association.