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This is the definitive scholarly edition of Tobias Smollett’s first novel, widely regarded as one of his two masterpieces, the other being The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Roderick Random was also, in its time, the chief rival to Henry Fielding’s comic novel Tom Jones.
Surging with verbal, sexual, and martial energy, The Adventures of Roderick Random opens a window on life, love, and war in the eighteenth century. The hero battles his way from poverty and neglect to make his mark as a doctor, writer, fighter, and lover. His adventures take us across the world, from England and France to the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. One of the first truly global novels, it casts light on nearly every aspect of its timeimperialism, gender relations, slavery, urban life, colonial warfare, commerce, politics, the professions, high society, and the Hogarthian underworld.
Complete with illustrations and comprehensive annotations, this is the first edition to include Smollett’s long-forgotten antiwar pamphlet, An Account of the Expedition against Carthagene in the West Indies, which was drawn from his own war experience and on which key sections of the novel are based. The editors also provide a detailed biographical and historical introduction, based on the most recent scholarship, mapping the novel’s enormous impact in its own time and its influence on the history of literature over the centuries since.
About the Author
Alexander Pettit is an associate professor of English at the University of North Texas. He is also the general editor of three series: The Works of Tobias Smollett (Georgia), British Ideas and Issues, 1660-1820, and Selected Works of Eliza Haywood.
James Basker is the Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History at Barnard College. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Tobias Smollett: Critic and Journalist and Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems about Slavery, 1660–1810.
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.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
The Adventures of Roderick Random
Appendix: "An Account of the Expedition against Carthagene"
Notes to the Text
List of Emendations