The Adventures of Roderick Random

Tobias Smollett
Edited by James G. Basker, Paul-Gabriel Boucé, and Nicole A. Seary
Alexander Pettit, general editor; text edited by O M Brack Jr.


"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

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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 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.

Works of Tobias Smollett

Page count: 640 pp.
27 b&w illus.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: 91.95

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James G. 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. The late Paul-Gabriel Boucé, professor at the University of Paris, wrote and edited many books, including Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Nicole A. Seary is a researcher at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.