George Leigh Mallory

(1886—1924) mountaineer

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(1886–1924) An English mountaineer whose early death in the Alps generated a national debate on the ethics of mountaineering. Mallory was a student at Winchester school, where he was cultivated as a gymnast, and then Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he leaned towards the left in politics, engaged in dramatics, and captained his college boat. He also frequented the salons of a university librarian that were designed to attract, as Peter J. Hansen puts it (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004), the ‘bright and beautiful’. Mallory's physical beauty was widely commented upon, and Hansen's article is accompanied by a painting of Mallory by Duncan Grant, an artist of the bohemian and sexually unorthodox Bloomsbury set within which Mallory moved: Mallory is portrayed as naked from the waist up, his chest and profile conveying an epicene beauty. His bisexuality, physical beauty, daredevil and mystical approach to the mountains, and early death combined to make him a controversial and contested figure in English cultural history.

From A Dictionary of Sports Studies in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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