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The Works of Tobias Smollett

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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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The Adventures of Roderick Random

Tobias Smollett Jr.

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 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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The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses

François de Salignac de La Mothe Fénelon

The Adventures of Telemachus is the first critical edition of Tobias Smollett's 1776 translation of Bishop Fénelon's 1699 "mirror for princes," written especially for Duc de Burgogne, heir presumptive to Louis XIV.

Both in its original French and its many translations, The Adventures of Telemachus was one of the most popular and revered works of the eighteenth century. There were more than ten English prose and poetry versions, including this masterful prose translation by Smollett. Known for his novels Roderick Random and The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, Smollett was also a gifted translator. The Adventures of Telemachus was his final translation and is one of the finest versions of the work. Long a disputed title in the Smollett canon, it is fully restored to his credit by Leslie A. Chilton.

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The Devil upon Crutches

Alain Rene Le Sage

This is the first reprinting since the eighteenth century--and the first scholarly edition--of Tobias Smollett’s translation of The Devil upon Crutches. First published in France in 1707 as Le Diable boiteux, Alain René Le Sage’s novel relates the picaresque wanderings of Asmodeus, a refined, likable but decrepit devil, and Zambullo, his newfound mortal companion.

After Zambullo releases Asmodeus from a bottle, the two embark on a flight above the rooftops of Madrid. Peeking into houses, prisons, palaces, and even tombs, Zambullo witnesses one incident of treachery and self-delusion after another. Smollett’s superior wit and sense of irony suited him well as translator for this novel, with its juxtaposition of realism with romance, satire with sentiment, and sexual intrigue with moral admonition.

This authoritative textual edition is based on the 1759 second edition of Smollett’s translation. The extensive introduction covers such topics as the original French edition; the composition, printing, and reception of Smollett’s The Devil upon Crutches; and Smollett’s career as a translator. Also included are a complete textual apparatus and a guide to the now-exotic pharmaceuticals and remedies one encounters in the novel.

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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

Tobias Smollett

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, Tobias Smollett's last published novel and most celebrated work, appeared in June 1771, three months before the author's death. A classic in the history of the English novel, it takes the form of a collection of letters written by various members of Mr. Matthew Bramble's family (for whom Humphry Clinker is a general servant) during their eight months of travel in England and Scotland in the 1760s. The wanderings of the Bramble party result in a series of amusing adventures and episodes, unfolding within the main plot in which the eccentric and contentious characters--"originals" as Bramble's nephew calls them--discover the sources of true happiness.

In this work, Smollett realized two long-standing artistic goals--a harmonious fusion of satire and comedy and, through the deliberate intertwining of historical and contrived details, a portrayal of the world as constructed from both fiction and fact. In achieving the latter, Smollett was aided by the novel's form, for the epistolary style of travel books in his day set a precedent for the extensive commentary on incidents, experiences, people, and places in Humphry Clinker and allowed him to relate the same stories through multiple points of view.

Much of the continuing appeal of the novel can be traced to the gossipy insights found in its mass of historical, biographical, economic, political, social, geographical, and topographical details. One meets, for example, Smollett's version of such historical personages as William Pitt, James Quin, and the Duke of Newcastle, as well as fictionalized versions of Smollett's own friends and enemies. Even minor characters are often taken directly from history. In addition, the book includes numerous quotations from and allusions to the Bible, earlier and contemporary literature, the Book of Common Prayer, medical matter, and proverbial lore.

This edition of Humphry Clinker includes illustrations by George Cruikshank and Thomas Rowlandson and is the first scholarly edition to feature a comprehensive introduction, exhaustive textual editing, and detailed notes that cite passages from Smollett's nonfictional works and the works of his contemporaries to analyze the mass of allusions and references in the novel. Thomas R. Preston's introduction discusses the composition, publication, and early reception of Humphry Clinker, the crucial importance of money in the narrative and its revelation of character, and Smollett's use of language and dialect.

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The History and Adventures of an Atom

Tobias Smollett

In The History and Adventures of an Atom, a London haberdasher relates extraordinary tales of ancient Japan as dictated to him by an omniscient atom that has lived within the bodies of great figures of state. Intended “for the instruction of British ministers,” the work is a savage allegory of England during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), draping kings and politicians, domestic and foreign affairs in an intricately detailed, endlessly allusive veil of satire.

Lacing his commentary with vitriol, Tobias Smollett gives fantastic expression in the Atom to many of the concerns voiced in his historical and political writings. He creates from the details of Japanese history an ingenious catalog of English places and personalities--from the up-start ruler “Taycho,” whose graspings for power resemble William Pitt’s, to a god of war called “Fatzman” who suggests the grotesquely obese Duke of Cumberland. Smollett also draws on the imagery of the period’s scurrilous political cartoons and injects into his satire a Rabelaisian humor that makes this work perhaps the most scatological in English literature.

Edited and introduced by Robert Adams Day, this edition of the Atom is the first to appear since 1926 and the first ever to provide a carefully prepared text, a full apparatus of historical annotations, and an accurate key to personages and places. Day establishes the authorship and the long-disputed work, placing it within the context of Smollett’s writings and opinions, his times and literary world.

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The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

This authoritative textual edition presents Tobias Smollett's translation of Cervantes's Don Quixote in the form most faithful to Smollett's own intentions. It includes Francis Hayman's twenty-eight illustrations engraved for the original edition, Smollett's explanatory notes, and his prefatory "Life of Cervantes."

Smollett's Don Quixote first appeared in 1755 and was for many years the most popular English-language version of Cervantes's masterpiece. However, soon after the start of the nineteenth century, its reputation began to suffer. Rival translators, literary hucksters, and careless scholars initiated or fed a variety of charges against Smollett--even plagiarism. For almost 130 years no publisher risked reprinting it.

Redemption began in 1986, when the distinguished Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, in his foreword to a new (albeit flawed) edition of Smollett's translation, declared it to be "the authentic vernacular version" of Don Quixote in English. Fuentes's opinion was in accord with that of the preeminent Cervantist, Francisco Rodríguez Marín, who decades earlier had declared Smollett's Don Quixote to be his preferred English version.

Martin C. Battestin's introduction discusses the composition, publication, and controversial reception of Smollett's Don Quixote. Battestin's notes identify Smollett's sources in his "Life of Cervantes" and in his commentary, provide cross-references to his other works, and illustrate Smollett's originality or dependence on previous translations. Also included is a complete textual apparatus, a glossary of unfamiliar terms, and an appendix comparing a selection of Francis Hayman's original illustrations with the engraved renderings used in the book.

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The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves

Tobias Smollett

This new edition brings to life Tobias Smollett's fourth novel, The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves. No annotated edition of the work existed before the second half of the twentieth century, and this comprehensive edition by Robert Folkenflik and Barbara Laning Fitzpatrick features more accurate text as well as scrupulous textual and critical information. Also included in the detailed introduction is a unique examination of Sir Launcelot Greaves, the first illustrated serial novel, in relation to the engravings by Anthony Walker.

Sir Launcelot Greaves was a groundbreaking novel for Smollett. Published in British Magazine beginning in January 1760, it was the first major work by an English novelist to have been written specifically for serial publication. The novel, Smollett's shortest, differs stylistically from his previous works. The most attractive of his heroes, Sir Launcelot is virtuous and strange, and he is surrounded by a Smollettian menagerie whose various jargons are part of this novel's linguistic virtuosity and satire. Sir Launcelot's character is an English naturalization of Quixote. Although Sir Launcelot, unlike Quixote, is not the object of the author's satire, an idealistic madness is central to both characters. In Smollett's work the theme of madness is integral to the relationship between self and society as the work ponders both the constitution of madness and the alternatives to revenge.

Sir Launcelot Greaves, though not Smollett's most heralded work, has not received the recognition it deserves. Folkenflik and Fitzpatrick present a definitive edition that will be appreciated by scholars and lovers of eighteenth-century literature.

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