The Adventures of Roderick Random (The Works of Tobias Smollett)

 

adventuresofroderickThis 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 time—imperialism, 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.
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Editorial Reviews:

“Although Smollett would write other hit novels, his first foray into fiction, The Adventures of Roderick Random, which has never been out of print, is in many ways his best, a must-read for those familiar with his other works and the place to start for neophytes. . . . [T]his superb edition . . . [contains] copious notes and introductory material, clarifying all matters biographical, historical, political and linguistic and explaining customs, manners and diction, providing the reader with everything he needs to get the most out of this not-to-be-missed treat.”—Martin Rubin, Washington Times

“A reprinting of a literary classic that reflects on its place in the history of literature, The Adventures of Roderick Random is an excellent addition to any community library collection of eighteenth century literature.”—Midwest Book Review

“This is certainly ‘the most elaborate scholarly edition of Roderick Random yet undertaken[.]’ . . . Smollett was a major talent who appealed to generations of readers and writers, and Roderick Random is up to the very best he ever produced.” —Pat Rogers, The New Criterion

“[The Adventures of Roderick Random] comes with a crisply informative introduction and explanatory and textual commentaries which give every appearance of reflecting the distinction of the editorial team. . . . Like the other volumes in the series, it is handsomely produced and delightfully illustrated.”—Claude Rawson, Recent Studies in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century

“While they spend more time on the novel’s literary context and reception, [the editors] also devote adequate space to its cultural politics, touching on an array of issues from imperialism to homophobia . . . . the editors want to define Roderick Random as a work that is ahead of its time, not a product of it—its issues ‘less political’ than ‘existential’.”—Lee Kahan, Modern Language Review

“Among the huge number of details [in the endnotes] are enough that illuminate specific passages in Roderick Random or establish interesting biographical connections to make the reader’s effort worthwhile. . . . This is a genuinely satisfying book, handsomely produced and aesthetically pleasing, including twenty-seven well-chosen and clearly reproduced full-page illustrations.”—Alfred Lutz, 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era

 

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