On angling as a woman in the first half of the twentieth century.
Like fast moving currents, the fishing tales in The Fly Fisher and the River move us through a selection of Max Atherton’s experiences both within rivers’ waters as well as at their outer edges. They remind us that alongside the (then-) radical environmentalist-explorer part of her, there was a playful joie de vivre, someone who appreciated the company of good-looking, intelligent outdoorsmen. Even before her husband’s death, Max enjoyed the attention she got as a fisherwoman. While she cherished a few female friendships, Max held the opinion that women did not generally engage their minds as much as they could and tended to settle for less in their lives than she was willing to. The men she likededucated, with leisure time to fishhad more freedom and could have adventures and talk about ideas, politics, and the intricacies of fly fishing. This refined form of angling provided an escape from the mundane, and Max enjoyed the adrenaline rush of fishing and camping in the great outdoors as much as the meditative quiet time in nature. Her expertise provided the entrée she needed to thrive in a man’s worlda fact reflected in her writing about the joys of casting her lines into one river after another.
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