George R. R. Martin's first novel, Dying of the Light (1977) contains a manhunt. This is not a manhunt in the context of law enforcement or a military operation, but refers to a “hunting party” in which a group of hunters tracks down and kills other individuals, as a sort of “sport”; their victims aren't criminals.

When reading this novel, I strongly suspected that this was not the first work of literature using this type of man hunt and I found the short story The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, published in 1924. (This story probably inspired the comic strip De gezellen van Nimrod, published in 1992. The comic strip has a character named Zofar, which is almost an anagram of Zaroff from Connell's story.)

So my question is: is Connell's story the earliest work of literature in English that features this type of “human hunting”, or, if not, what is the earliest example? I am not looking for comic strips.

  • TV Tropes mentions "The Most Dangerous Game" as the Trope Namer, but that doesn't mean it was the first. Unfortunately, TV Tropes's list of examples doesn't include dates. This article may include some useful info, but it seems to be behind a paywall.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 16 '19 at 19:02

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