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Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett. New York. 1995. Penguin Books. Edited & With An Introduction and Notes By David Blewett. 480 pages. The cover shows a detail of Lord George Graham in His Cabin by William Hogarth in the National Maritime Museum, London. 9780140433326.

 

9780140433326RODERICK RANDOM was published in 1748 to immediate acclaim, and established Smollett among the most popular of eighteenth-century novelists. In this picaresque tale, Roderick Random suffers misfortune after misfortune as he drifts from one pummeling to another and he still somehow manages to keep his brand of fatalistic good humor.  

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Narrated by an unheroic, apparently rudderless hero named Random, Smollett's wildly energetic and entertaining novel is held together not least by the narrator's outrage and dismay. Although RODERICK RANDOM was first published anonymously, the secret of Smollett's authorship was soon discovered, with the result that many readers thought they recognized similarities between the life of the hero and that of his creator. Certainly Roderick Random's early years - disinherited and without wealth and influence - and his university career, apprenticeship and service as a naval surgeon, vividly reflect the experiences of the author. How Random learns to survive the fickle hand of fortune, recovers his long-lost father, marries his beloved Narcissa, and dispatches his enemies is the stuff, not of autobiography, but of a novel which profoundly satirizes the moral chaos of its times. Dickens and Thackeray, among other great Victorians, applauded Smollett for his wit and invention, and in RODERICK RANDOM we enjoySmollett Tobias the novel of a pioneer opening up the frontiers of fiction.

 

 

 

Tobias George Smollett (19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), which influenced later novelists such as Charles Dickens. George Orwell admired Smollett very much. His novels were amended liberally by printers; a definitive edition of each of his works was edited by Dr. O. M. Brack, Jr. to correct variants.

 

 

 

 

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