London: Printed for J. Osborn, 1748. Item #05582
Tobias Smollet's First Novel
The Life and Times of the Scottish Rogue Roderick Random
[SMOLLETT, Tobias]. The Adventures of Roderick Random. In Two Volumes. London: Printed for J. Osborn, 1748.
First edition, first state of text, with I9 not canceled in volume one, and Locke’s name present on line 22 of p. 185.
Two twelvemo volumes (6 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches; 159 x 95 mm.). [xxiii], [i, blank], 1-324; xii, 1-366 pp.
Handsomely bound in early twentieth-century polished calf by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed on the verso of the front free endpaper). Covers ruled in blind, spines ruled in blind with five raised bands and two olive green morocco gilt lettering labels, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Date in gilt at foot of spine. An excellent and very attractive example.
The Adventures of Roderick Random is a picaresque novel by Tobias Smollett, first published in 1748. It is partially based on Smollett's experience as a naval-surgeon's mate in the Royal Navy, especially during the Battle of Cartagena de Indias in 1741. In the preface, Smollett acknowledges the connections of his novel to the two satirical picaresque works he translated into English: Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605–15) and Alain-René Lesage's Gil Blas (1715–47) The novel consists of a series of episodes that give an account of the life and times of the Scottish rogue Roderick Random. At various times rich and then poor, the hero goes to sea, has romantic entanglements, travels the world, discovers his long-lost father, and marries his true love.
Tobias Smollett (1721-1771), “English satirical novelist, best known for his picaresque novels. Smollett apprenticed as a surgeon, and throughout his life he combined the roles of medical man and writer…In 1748 Smollett published his novel Roderick Random, a graphic account of British naval life at the time, and he also translated from the French the great picaresque romance Gil Blas. Peregrine Pickle was published in 1751, and The Adventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom…appeared in 1753…He translated Don Quixote from the Spanish (1755), and in 1756 he became editor of The Critical Review, a Tory and church paper, at the same time writing his four-volume Complete History of England (1757-58…In 1759 he was convicted for libel on Admiral Sir Charles Knowles in The Critical Review, fined, and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment in the King’s Bench Prison. He drew on his experiences there for his two-volume novel The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves (1762)…His finest work, Humphry Clinker (1771), recounts the adventures of a family traveling through Britain” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature).