Charles Sprawson

Haunts of the Black Masseur
  • Haunts of the Black Masseur

  • A new re-issue of the cult swimming classic, a beautiful read filled with detailed description and powerful prose.

    WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY AMY LIPTROT

    ‘A luminously romantic history of swimming’ Guardian

    Haunts of the Black Masseur is a dazzling introduction to the great swimming heroes, from Byron leaping into the surf at Shelley's funeral to Hart Crane diving to his death in the Bay of Mexico. Bursting with anecdotes, Charles Sprawson leads us into a watery world populated by lithe demi-gods – a world that has obsessed humans from the ancient Greeks and Romans, to Yeats, Woolf, Fitzgerald and Hockney.

    Original, enticing and dripping with references to literature, film, art and Olympic history, this cult swimming classic pays sparkling tribute to water and the cultural meanings we attach to it.

    ‘This splendid and wholly original book is as zestful as a plunge in champagne’ Iris Murdoch

Charles Sprawson was an obsessional swimmer and diver who swam the Hellespont. He died in January 2020.

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