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Course & Subject Guides

The Compleat Angler: And Other Meditations on the Art and Philosophy of Fishing, 15th Century to the Present: Modern American Authors

The exhibit is located in the Reading Room at Archives & Special Collections, 363 Hillman Library, Spring - Fall 2017.

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Ian Frazier

Fish's Eye dust jacket

Dust jacket from The Fish's Eye, [2002]

"My father died some years ago.  If I had fished with him, I would now miss him on the stream; but, as I never did, he is still with me as much as ever.  I often fish with friends, but I grew up fishing alone, and I still like to fish alone.  When I do, the sense of my father as present in his absence is especially strong...

...I get it---a sort of lunker fever, an odd emotional state that sometimes sweeps through me after I catch a big fish.  I hold the fish in the shallows and move it gently to revive it and I talk to it and I get dizzy with the sensation of being in a moment that neither of us will forget.  I tell the fish that I didn’t mean to shake up its day and that I hope it will be all right and that it’s a wonderful fish and that I hope it will never get caught again.  And I feel scarily close to the fish’s complex life that went on before and that will go on after, and close to my anxious, uncomprehending father, wherever he may be.  When the fish and I are both more even-keeled, I take my hands away from its cold, nerved sides.  Seconds pass; we realize we are no longer attached.  I hear my father’s “Ohhhh---let it go” as the fish swims away."

Frazier, Ian, (1951-).

The Fish's Eye: Essays about Angling and the Outdoors.

New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, [2002], p. 73.

University Library System - Hillman Library 

James Prosek

"Trout" by James Prosek dust jacket

Dust jacket from Trout, 1996

"My purpose in this book it to expose people to the diversity of color, form, and habits of the trout that swim in our waters.  In the histories that accompany the paintings, I describe where the trout live and some of the struggles they’ve endured.  As you leaf through the book, I hope you will admire the patterns and forms of the fish as much as I do.  I hope they will engage you with their vitality.   For me, the trout in its stream is the essence of life---encompassing survival and beauty, death and birth.  And I hope my celebration of the trout causes others to feel the same way."

Illustration of three trout from Trout: An Illustrated History

Frontispiece from Trout, 1996

Prosek, James (1975-).

Trout: An Illustrated History.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997, p. 7.

University Library System - Archives & Special Collections

Full dust jacket of The Compleat Angler: A Connecticut Yankee Follows in the Footsteps of Walton

Dust jacket from The Complete Angler, 1999

"…I’m exploring why Walton and his book have survived for almost three hundred and fifty years, and in doing so hope to revive the popularity his works have at times enjoyed.  Walton’s originality as an author is striking, and we wonder as we read him, as well as about him, how a man born so humble, a tradesman, could have evolved into one of the most gifted literary innovators of his time.  When one begins to read Walton it becomes apparent immediately that he had an extraordinary gift for friendship, and what makes him so appealing is that he extends this friendship to his readers and invites us to follow through this personal fantasy world to the trout stream…"


Prosek, James (1975-).

The Complete Angler: A Connecticut Yankee Follows in the Footsteps of Walton.

[New York]: Harper Collins Publishers, [1999], pp. x-xi.

University Library System - Archives & Special Collections

Henry Hughes

Fishing Stories dust jacket

Dust jacket from Fishing Stories, 2013

"For millennia people’s lives and cultures have been woven into this ancient art. Whether it’s a Chinese sage angling without a hook to cultivate virtue forhimself and the state or a humble Scottish gamekeeper’s daughter setting a record that has stood for almost a century, fishing stories dramatize those things we pursue, hold on to, lose, and let go of in life. It’s not surprising, therefore, that fishing has generated more great literature and attracted more writers than any other sport, and this collection attempts to pull in some of the best of them."

Henry Hughes, (1965-) editor.

Fishing Stories.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, [2013], p. 12.

University Library System - Johnstown Campus Library

John Gierach

Front cover of All Fishermen Are Liars

Front cover from All Fishermen Are Liars, [2014]

 "All fishermen are liars except you and me (and sometimes I wonder about you)." - Anonymous

Gierach, John, (1946-).

Wolff, Glenn, (active 1987-) illustrator.

All Fishermen Are Liars.

New York: Simon & Schuster, [2014].

Brook Trout illustration by James Prosek
Colorado River Cutthroat Trout illustration by James Prosek
Columbia River Redband Trout illustration by James Prosek
Steelhead Trout illustration by James Prosek