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The Accidental Revolutionary

George Whitefield and the Creation of America

Jerome Dean Mahaffey

Patriots. Founding Fathers. Revolutionaries. For many Americans, the colonial heroes deserve special celebratory reverence. Yet while Washington's leadership, Franklin's writings, and Revere's ride captivate us, the inspiration and influence George Whitefield instilled within the revolutionary spirits of early Americans is regrettably unknown.

In this refreshing biography, Jerome Dean Mahaffey deftly moves beyond Whitefield's colonial celebrity to show how his rhetoric and ministry worked for freedom, situating Whitefield alongside the most revolutionary founders. As this Anglican revivalist traveled among the colonies, he delivered exhilarating sermons deeply saturated with political implications—freedom from oppression, civil justice, communal cooperation. Whitefield helped to encourage in his listeners a longing for a new, uniquely American nationalism.

The Accidental Revolutionary tells the story of this forgotten founder, who may not have realized the repercussions of his words as he spoke them. Now, Mahaffey delicately shows that Whitefield converted colonists not just to Christianity but to a renewed sense of unification that ultimately made possible the American Revolution.

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The Ace of Lightning

Stories

Stephen-Paul Martin

Stephen-Paul Martin’s The Ace of Lightning is a series of interconnected stories focused on a turning point in Western history: the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria which triggered World War I, and the mysterious circumstances that led Gavrilo Princip to shoot and kill the heir apparent to one of Europe’s most powerful empires.
 
Far from being a conventional work of historical fiction, Martin’s collection asks readers to think about what truly constitutes history. What would the past look like if history was written under the influence of Mad Magazine and The Twilight Zone? What happens when the assassination in Sarajevo becomes “the assassination in Sarajevo,” when Gavrilo Princip becomes “Gavrilo Princip,” when the past and the present shape a textual future that looks suspiciously like a past that never was and a present that never is?

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Act of Contrition

Janice Holt Giles. foreword by Wade Hall

Act of Contrition focuses on the intimate relationship between Regina, a widow, and Michael, a young doctor whose wife left him for another man. Having found happiness in one another, they desire nothing more than to be together. Yet in the eyes of the Catholic Church, Michael is not free to divorce his wife and marry Regina. In an emotional climax Regina must decide if she loves Michael enough to give him up or if she'll force him to choose between her and God.

By modern standards, Giles's love scenes are tasteful, and the general atmosphere of ecumenism within today's Catholic Church renders moot many of the tensions in the novel. Yet in 1957 Giles's agent and publisher feared the work would cause "irreparable harm" to her reputation. As late as 1972 Giles was revising in the hopes of seeing the novel published. Finally her wish is fulfilled.

Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979), author of nineteen books, lived and wrote near Knifley, Kentucky, for thirty-four years. Her biography is Janice Holt Giles: A Writer's Life.

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ActivAmerica

Meagan Cass

Drawing from fairy tales, ghost stories, and science-fiction, the stories in ActivAmerica explore how we confront (and exert) power and re-imagine ourselves through sports and athletic activities. A group of girls starts an illicit hockey league in a conservative suburb. A recently separated woman must run a mile a day in order to maintain her new corporate health insurance. Children impacted by environmental disaster create a “mutant soccer team.” Two sisters are visited by an Olympic gymnast who demands increasingly dangerous moves from them. Sports allow the characters to form communities on soccer fields and hidden lakes, in overgrown backyards and across Ping-Pong tables. Throughout the collection, however, athletic risk also comes with unexpected, often unsettling results.

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An Address in Havana/Domicilio habanero

Selected Short Stories

by María Elena Llana, translated by Barbara Riess

“Solitary characters, afflicted by real or fictitious fears… a world plagued with absurdities… exceptional stories, told through an ironic perspective with humor and cruelty. Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.” Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. Her stories humorously represent a vision of the world through a palpable irony leading up to a subversive guffaw that, because of her scathing wit, may also be read as an anguished holler. This quality is at the heart of Llana’s stories teeming with specters of every type, dramatic or ridiculous, but always efficiently suggestive of circumstances underlying what we take for reality. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.

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Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs

Late of the Tallapoosa Volunteers; Together with Taking the Census and Other Alabama Sketches

Originally published in 1845, Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs is a series of sketches written in part to parody some the campaign literature of the era. The character, Simon Suggs, with his motto, “it is good to be shifty in a new country,” fully incarnates a backwoods version of the national archetypes now know as the confidence man, the grafter, the professional flim-flam artist supremely skilled in the arts by which a man gets along in the world. This classic volume of good humor is set in the rough-and-tumble world of frontier life and politics.

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The Adventures of David Simple and Volume the Last

Sarah Fielding

The Adventures of David Simple (1744), Sarah Fielding's first and most celebrated novel, went through several editions, the second of which was heavily revised by her brother Henry. This edition includes Henry's "corrections" in an appendix. In recounting the guileless hero's search for a true friend, the novel depicts the derision with which almost everyone treats his sentimental attitudes to human nature. Acclaimed as an accurate portrait of mid-eighteenth-century London, The Adventures of David Simple sets forth some provocative feminist ideas. Also included is Fielding's much darker sequel, Volume the Last (1753).

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The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

Tobias Smollett

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.

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The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane

Alain René Le Sage Translated by Tobias Smollett Edited by O M Brack, Jr., and Leslie A. Chilton

 

Tobias Smollett, in the preface to his first novel, The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), acknowledges the influence of Alain René Le Sage’s L’Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (1715–35 in four volumes) on his work. By far the most successful of “useful and entertaining” romances, Smollett writes, Gil Blas describes “the knavery and foibles of life, with infinite humour and sagacity.” “The following sheets,” he adds significantly, “I have modeled on his plan.”
 
Smollett’s translation of Gil Blas appeared nine months after the publication of Roderick Random. This chronicle of a merry, philosophical young man whose adventures lead him into all levels of society from the highest to the lowest, presents special problems for a translator. Smollett, without always adhering to the literal expression of the novel’s language, is true to its style, spirit, and ideas. After two and a half centuries, his remains the finest translation of this humorous, satiric, and classic French novel.
 
In his early years in London, Smollett struggled to find a way to distinguish himself through his medical practice, medical writings, poetry, and plays. None of these attempts, however, allowed him to demonstrate the full range of his personality and talents. Only when he combined his own boundless imagination with the skills he had learned from translating Gil Blas was he able to create energetic narratives filled with vivid and original characters.

 

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The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

Tobias Smollett

This picaresque tale, first published in 1751, was Tobias Smollett’s second novel. Following the fortunes and misfortunes of the egotistical dandy Peregrine Pickle, the novel is written as a series of brief adventures with every chapter typically describing a new escapade. The novel begins with Peregrine as a young country gentleman. His mother rejects him, as do his aloof father and his dissolute, spiteful brother. Commodore Hawser Trunnion takes Peregrine under his care and raises him. Peregrine’s upbringing, education at Oxford, and journey to France, his debauchery, bankruptcy, jailing, and succession to his father’s fortune, and his final repentance and marriage to his beloved Emilia all provide scope for Smollett’s comic and caustic perspective on the Europe of his times. As John P. Zomchick and George S. Rousseau note in the introduction, “by contrasting the genteel and the common, the sophisticated and the primal, Smollett conveys forcefully the way it felt to be alive in the middle of the eighteenth century.”<br /> <br /> The introduction provides an overview of the composition and publication history of Peregrine Pickle and discusses the novel’s critical reception over time by such figures as Lady Luxborough, Sir Walter Scott, Joseph Conrad, and George Orwell. The text of the novel uses the first edition of 1751 as copy-text while recording the second edition’s substantive variants. Included are illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson, Richard Corbould, and George Cruikshank, as well as frontispieces designed by, and engraved in the style of, Henry Fuseli. A complete textual apparatus concludes the volume.

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