Poems, Plays, and "The Briton"

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.

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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.

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820346090
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2014
  • 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)

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 ever been published. The Georgia edition, though not a complete collection, includes all of those writings by which Smollett was best known in his own time and by which he is best remembered in ours.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Poems
Introduction 3
A New Song 23
The Tears of Scotland 23
Advice: A Satire 26
Reproof: A Satire 37
Thus Have I Sent the Simple King to Hell 46
Thy Fatal Shafts Unerring Move 46
Travesty 47
Love Elegy. In Imitation of Tibullus 47
Adieu, Ye Streams That Smoothly Flow 48
Come, Listen Ye Students of Ev'ry Degree 49
Burlesque Ode 50
Song "While with Fond Rapture" 51
A Declaration in Love. Ode to Blue-Ey'd Ann 52
Ode to Sleep. Intended As a Chorus in a Tragedy 53
An Ode to Mirth 53
A New Song "To Fix Her" 55
Ode to Leven-Water 56
Ode to Independence 57
Lyrics from Alceste 61
Plays
Introduction 69
The Regicide 87
The Reprisal 173
The Briton
Introduction 221
Text of The Briton 241
Appendix: Doubtful Attributions
Ode Addressed to the Late Gen. Wolfe 433
The Junto 434
Morning, in Spring, A Fragment 435
A Pastoral Ballad 435
On Signior Tenducci's Singing Jubal's Lyre 436
Notes to the Texts
Poems 437
Plays 460
The Briton 477
Appendix: Doubtful Attributions 538
Key to The Briton 541
Textual Commentary 547
List of Emendations 579
Word-Division 587
Historical Collation 591
Bibliographical Descriptions 609
Index 627
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