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Poems, Plays, and the Briton
     

Poems, Plays, and the Briton

by Tobias Smollett, Byron Gassman (Editor), Leslie Chilton (Editor), O Brack Jr. (Editor)
 

The poems, plays, and political writings included in this volume are essential to an understanding of Tobias Smollett and the literary and social currents of eighteenth-century England. In introductions to the separate sections of the volume, Byron Gassman identifies the circumstances that prompted Smollett to undertake these writings, traces the history of their

Overview

The poems, plays, and political writings included in this volume are essential to an understanding of Tobias Smollett and the literary and social currents of eighteenth-century England. In introductions to the separate sections of the volume, Byron Gassman identifies the circumstances that prompted Smollett to undertake these writings, traces the history of their publication and reception, and provides extensive explanations of historical and literary allusions.

The poems in the volume represent Smollett's entire achievement as a poet. Among the shorter poems are "A New Song," his first printed work; "The Tears of Scotland," an early expression of his defiant spirit; and the popular "Ode to Independence," written during the last decade of his life. Two longer works, "Advice" (1746) and its sequel, "Reproof" (1747), are satires written in Popean heroic couplets; they mark the beginnings of Smollett's attacks on theater managers, corrupt politicians, iniquitous military leaders, and other well-known personalities of the day. An appendix to this volume includes five additional poems assigned but not definitely attributed to Smollett.

The Reprisal; or The Tars of Old England and The Regicide are the only extant plays by Smollett. The Regicide, written when the author was only eighteen or nineteen, dramatizes the story of the murder of James I of Scotland. The Reprisal, a patriotic comedy performed as an afterpiece at the Theatre Royal, was a moderate theatrical success.

Smollett's political writings for The Briton, a weekly journal he established in 1762 for defending the policies of the Earl of Bute, mark a particularly painful period in the author's life. A paper war erupted with the first number, and Smollett and Bute became the objects of scathing counterattacks, particularly in the writings of John Wilkes. This volume brings together for the first time all issues of The Briton and also includes a key identifying the weekly's numerous elliptical references to persons and places.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The poems (Smollett's entire achievement in the genre), plays (the only two extant), and political writings (for The Briton, a weekly journal he established in 1762) included in this volume are central to an understanding of Smollett (1721-1771) and the literary and social currents of 18th-century England. Editor Gassman identifies the circumstances that prompted Smollett to undertake these writings, traces the history of their publication and reception, and provides extensive explanations of historical and literary allusions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820346090
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
01/15/2014
Series:
The Works of Tobias Smollett Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
592
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

Related Subjects

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.

Leslie A. Chilton is a faculty associate in English at Arizona State University.

O M Brack, Jr., a professor of English literature emeritus at Arizona State University, is coauthor of Samuel Johnson's Early Biographers and coeditor of The Early Biographies of Samuel Johnson. He has edited volumes of the Works of Samuel Johnson published by Yale and is textual editor for the Georgia series the Works of Tobias Smollett. Brack is the curator of the 2009 Johnson tercentenary exhibition at the Huntington Library.

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