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The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom
     

The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

by Tobias Smollett, Jerry Beasley (Editor), O M Brack Jr. (Editor)
 

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The first novel by a major English writer that is devoted to a thoroughgoing portrait of villainy, The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom chronicles the life of an aberrant criminal character. Filled with striking satiric thrusts at the legal, medical, and military establishments of mid-eighteenth-century Europe and England, the novel reveals Tobias

Overview

The first novel by a major English writer that is devoted to a thoroughgoing portrait of villainy, The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom chronicles the life of an aberrant criminal character. Filled with striking satiric thrusts at the legal, medical, and military establishments of mid-eighteenth-century Europe and England, the novel reveals Tobias Smollett's capacities as a commentator on contemporary life.

First published in 1753, Ferdinand Count Fathom is an experimental work that explores the relations between history and fiction and introduces, for the first time in the English novel, episodes of Gothic melodrama. Too long neglected and never before available in a carefully prepared scholarly edition, Ferdinand Count Fathom may now be read, understood, and appreciated against the literary and historical background of the eighteenth-century world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The appearance of the first volume of a major scholarly edition of the works of Tobias Smollett is an important event. . . . If the other editors of separate volumes in the series but match Beasley's work with Fathom, the whole project has been well worth the long wait. He has done a superb job. The introduction defines the place of this novel in Smollett's whole career. Also Beasley develops arguments that Fathom was a notable experiment in fiction, 'a serious and unblushing representation of remorseless (at least until the end) villainy,' and that the work represents an attempt to discover a way of presenting the relation between fiction and real life. Beasley's notes, more comprehensive than any ever offered before, are especially illuminating as identifications of literary allusions and historical references. No major research library can afford to pass over this volume. Indeed, all major libraries will want to subscribe to the entire edition. Most highly recommended."—Choice

"The appearance of Ferdinand Count Fathom is a cause for great celebration. . . . [Beasley’s] detailed and stylish introduction places this neglected novel (so clearly the ancestor of Thackeray’s Barry Lyndon) in the various contexts of Smollett’s career, the eighteenth-century literary scene, and the tradition of the novel. His textual notes are comprehensive, reliable, and exact. . . . It is impossible to imagine anything superseding it for many years to come."—Eighteenth-Century Scotland

"One of the major benefits of Beasley’s excellent edition of Fathom will be to make Smollett’s most experimental novel better known to eighteenth-century scholars, but also, thanks to its wealth of annotations, to convey to a wider public an intuitive sense of what is felt like to be living in mid-eighteenth century Britain."—Studies in Scottish Literature

Choice

The appearance of the first volume of a major scholarly edition of the works of Tobias Smollett is an important event. . . . If the other editors of separate volumes in the series but match Beasley's work with Fathom, the whole project has been well worth the long wait. He has done a superb job. The introduction defines the place of this novel in Smollett's whole career. Also Beasley develops arguments that Fathom was a notable experiment in fiction, 'a serious and unblushing representation of remorseless (at least until the end) villainy,' and that the work represents an attempt to discover a way of presenting the relation between fiction and real life. Beasley's notes, more comprehensive than any ever offered before, are especially illuminating as identifications of literary allusions and historical references. No major research library can afford to pass over this volume. Indeed, all major libraries will want to subscribe to the entire edition. Most highly recommended.

Eighteenth-Century Scotland

The appearance of Ferdinand Count Fathom is a cause for great celebration. . . . [Beasley’s] detailed and stylish introduction places this neglected novel (so clearly the ancestor of Thackeray’s Barry Lyndon) in the various contexts of Smollett’s career, the eighteenth-century literary scene, and the tradition of the novel. His textual notes are comprehensive, reliable, and exact. . . . It is impossible to imagine anything superseding it for many years to come.

Studies in Scottish Literature

One of the major benefits of Beasley’s excellent edition of Fathom will be to make Smollett’s most experimental novel better known to eighteenth-century scholars, but also, thanks to its wealth of annotations, to convey to a wider public an intuitive sense of what is felt like to be living in mid-eighteenth century Britain.

Library Journal
With this title the University of Georgia Press begins its projected ten-volume critical edition of Smollett's major works, thereby addressing a need in 18th-century scholarship. For despite Smollett's importance, most of his writings, including this title, are out of print in both the United States and Britain. Beasley's introduction and extensive notes (some 80 pages) seek to make the work accessible to the modern reader by placing it in historical context and explaining words and allusions that may be unfamiliar. Undergraduate and public libraries that have the 1971 Oxford English Authors edition need not buy this, but scholars and libraries serving them will want to subscribe to the series. Joseph Rosenblum, Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820346014
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
01/15/2014
Series:
The Works of Tobias Smollett Series
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Novelist, playwright, journalist, historian, travel writer, critic, translator, editor, and compiler, Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) was an eighteenth-century man of letters in the fullest sense of the phrase. Though his writings have been variously gathered together over the last two centuries, no definitive scholarly edition of Smollett's works has been published until the Georgia edition. Though not a complete collection, the Georgia edition includes all of those writings by which Smollett was best known in his own time and by which he is best remembered in ours. Prepared by a distinguished group of scholars, the edition conforms to the highest standards of excellence in historical and textual scholarship. Each volume provides an authoritative text, a substantial historical and critical introduction, and extensive explanatory notes.

Jerry C. Beasley is a professor of English at the University of Delaware in Newark. He is the author of Novels of the 1740s and editor of Smollett's The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom. From 1987 to 1997 he served as general editor of the Georgia Edition of the Works of Tobias Smollett.

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