Part IV: The Age of Novel


1688 The Glorious Revolution; James II flees and is subsequently deposed
William "the Stadtholder" of Orange and Mary suceed
1694 Mary dies
1701 The War of Spanish Succession begins
The Act of Settlement was enacted by Parliament
1704 Duke of Marlborough won the battle of Blenheim
1706 Marlborough won the battle of Ramillies
1710 Tories came to power
1711 Marlborough was removed from the command
1713 The Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succesiion, England becomes one of the leading Europen powers
1714 The Elector of Hanover ("Kurfiøt falcký") became George I of England and Scotland
1715 Jacobite rebellion ("the Fifteen") failed
Viscount of Bolingbroke fled to France
1720 "The South Sea Bubble" – The mania about the shares of The South Sea Company ended in general collapse
1721 Sir Robert Walpole became Prime Minister and held the office until 1742
1722 Workhouses set by an act of Parliament
1273 Bolingbroke was pardoned and allowed to return to England
1727 George I dies
1739 The war with Spain ("The War of Jenkins'Ear")
1740 The War of Austrian Succession in Europe
1742 Walpole resigned
1745 JACOBITE "FORTY-FIVE" rebellion in Scotland...
1746 ...crushed at CULLODEN
1751 General Robert Clive seized and defended Arcot against the French in India
1754 Death of Henry Fielding
1756 Pitt the Elder (later Lord Chatham) became the leading power of English politics
1759 Clive defeated the French in India
James Wolfe defeated the French and Captured Quebec
1760 George II dies
1682 John Dryden's Mac Flecknoe (written in cca 1678) was published
1704 Defoe begins publishing The Review
Swift early satires: The Battle of the Books, Tale of a Tub
1709 – 11 Steele (with others) began to issue The Tatler
1711 – 12 ...and The Spectator
1722 Defoe's Moll Flanders, and The Journal of the Plague Year
1726 JONATHAN SWIFT, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (The Voyages to Several Remote Nations of the World)
1742 Fielding's Joseph Andrews
1743 Pope's final version of The Dunciad
1743 Fielding's Miscellanies (containing The Life and Death Jonathan Wild the Great)
1748 Richardson's Clarissa (Harlowe)
Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes
1751 Smollett's The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
1753 The "Gothic elements" first applied
Smollett's The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom
(one of the possible beginnings of English Romanticism)


Government in the last years of Charles II had been based on a close understanding between the Royal Court on the one hand and the High Church and Tory Party on the other. To silence their common adversaries, the Whig Party and various kinds of "Dissenters" (mostly the Low Churchmen and former Puritans called later Nonconformists) they suppressed every smallest movement of opposition or free speech. Moreover they held the royal policy (which they often identified with their own wishes and interests) to be of eternal nature. So when James II began the new reign his Parliament was a closed assembly, in which many members owed their seats to this understanding and from which Whigs were excluded. So long, thought the Tories and the Court, this combination held there would have never be a cause to dread a Whig Parliament. The Parliament of 1685 was probably more royalist that any other in the history of Stuart reign. However, there was one thing which it would never help James to do – to return the country and Church back to Roman Catholicism. The split on this issue was only temporarily bridged by the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth in the West England. It was more a rising of Puritans against a variety of persecution they suffered, more in the fashion of the old Roundheads that paid dearly for their mistaken belief in the unlucky (he was defeated, tortured and spectacularly executed) and vastly incompetent Duke. However, the effect of Monmouth's uprising against James was to urge him to adopt (Listening to French and Jesuit advice) a more rapid method of Romanizing the country.

The failure of Monmouth actually removed an obstacle from "the Stadtholder", William of Orange, and brought nearer the union of all opposition parties under his leadership and all Whigs and Dissenters concentrated their hopes on William and his Stuart wife, Mary. William publicly promised to secure the release of England from French dependence and a sort of religious tolerance. But neither he nor the Tories were prepared to appoint Catholic officers of the Army, to have Catholic magistrates or Privy Councellors and finally restore the benefices of the Church of Rome in England. For the moment it was enough that William was the head of the league of European protestant countries against the French king, Louis XIV, who only recently had revoked the very tolerant Edict of Nantes and started the violent and cruel persecution of the Hugenots. James continued in his disastrous policy. After 1685 he tried to replace the Privy Councillors, rural and municipal magistrates, Lords Lieutenant, and the Sheriffs by Roman Catholics and openly attacked the possessions of the Church of England. The last straw was probably the turning of the Magdalen College at Oxford into a Roman Catholic seminary. Paradoxically, the former bulwark of "divine right" and unrestricted royal power became (practically overnight) a rebel town that flew orange flags in its streets. The trial of seven bishops and their acquittal by a jury led to an invitation sent to William to depose the king.

The danger preventing William's invasion was made greater by a demonstration made by the French forces against William's domain, Holland. However, he landed on 5 November with an army set up from all the Protestant nations of Europe and immediately he declared himself for a free Parliament, to which all matters had to be reffered and disputed. In such circumstances James did not dare to risk a battle. The respected opinion, however, is that had he not fled from the country himself, the feelings for the hereditary rights of kings were so strong with ruling Tories that his legal deposition would not be possible. These events were often spoken of as "The Glorious Revolution". Here probably the glory did not consist in acts of explicit heroism of the men at arms; the acts of an incompetent king would probably be more to the point. True greatnes, however, could be found very easily. It lays in the fact that it was bloodless, there was no civil war, no massacres, no proscriptions, and above all, a settlement by consent was reached of religious and political differences dividing so fiercely the country for so long.

But the Glorious Revolution had done more than successfully settle the quarrels between the two great parties. It decided the balance between Parliamentary and royal power in favour of Parliament. From 1689 onwards, no king ever attempted to govern without Parliament, or contrary to the votes of the House of Commons.

Very soon foreign and domestic events combined to force England into the leadership of the alliance against France. The continued attempts of Louis XIV to restore the rule of James and his son finally led to William's War of the League of Augsburg (1689 – 1697, ended by the indecisive Treaty of Ryswick) and to the Wars of the Spanish Succession conducted by the Duke of Marlborough. After Marlborough's victories at Blenheim in 1704 and at Ramillies in 1706 the war was concluded by the Treaty of Utrecht that marked a change of importance to the world at large – the maritime, commercial, and financial supremacy of Great Britain.

Even if the reign of William favoured the doctrines of the Whigs it did not mean their automatic victory. Throughout the reigns of William and Anne the two parties shared power and their contest continued sometimes vigorously. However, during the rule of the first two Hanoverian kings – George I and George II the tide changed. In 1715 (and in 1745 again) two formidable Jacobite rebellions (supporting the restoration of the Stuarts) so gravely compromised the Tory party, that the Whig's rule continued for the nearly rest of the century and has been often called a "Whig oligarchy". The first Hanoverian kings (mostly due to their lack of understanding English affairs) left to the Whig leaders many prerogatives that their predessors, William and Anne, would never have let out of their hands. The formation of ministries, the dissolution of Parliament, the patronage of the Monarch in Church and State offices, passed to the hands of the chief Whig leaders.The other important change was the establishment of the power of ministries made (intentionally) dependent on the vote of the House of Commons thus essentially reducing the power of the hereditary monarch.

Under the first two Georges the power of the House of Commons increased. The decline of the Tory party dampened public interest in parliamentary affairs. (Indeed, all serious political controversies of the times took place among quarelling factions of the Whig party). The Septennial Act in 1716 on the one hand secured the House of Hanover against Jacobite restoration, on the other hand secured also political tenures and vastly increased the willingness of people to enter the pay of government.

These things specially distinguished the British government from those on the continent. The advantages of parliamentary control, freedom of speech, press, and person made the people in Britain very conscious and very proud. They often looked with contempt at French, Italians, and Germans as people enslaved to priests, kings, and nobles. Nevertheless, the greater part of political and social power remained concentrated in one class, the landowners.


Life under the first two Georges allowed an unusual freedom for the individual, and did little to discourage private initiative. A high degree of religious tolerance left dissenters (mostly merchants) free to devote their energies to money-making, while they were prevented from taking part in public life; commerce and manufacture were limited by relatively few restrictions of State, municipalities, or guilds in contrast to the many economic barriers dividing up Germany, the Empire, Italy, and even heavily centralized France. And last but not least, the markets for English goods already existing in America, Europe, and the Middle East had been further developed by the combined efforts of manufacturers at home, merchant services and shipping agents abroad and the State providing their political and military support. In all these ways the first half of the eighteenth century was a prelude to the Agrarian and Industrial Revolution.

During the reigns of George I and II the British policy was dictated by the necessity to maintain the House of Hanover on the throne. Such a policy was possible through the continuance in office of the Whig party, while the political power was shared only by conformists to the Anglican worship. However, Tories (mostly country squires) were not given reasons for principal discontent with the rule of their political rivals.(The lack of consistency of Tory policy, unwilling to restore pro-Catholic Stuarts on the one hand, and unable to choose the side in the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 on the other, practically excluded their effective political participance during the most of the century).

The government of Sir Robert Walpole probably represented no unbearable hardship to the Tory squires. An entirely loyal Whig, he ruled by Alliance with the Whig lords, the wealthy businessmen, the Dissenters, protégés of his, and was peculiarly talented in the art of management. However, his common sense and love of peace were genuine ("Madam, there are fifty thousand men slain this year in Europe, and not one Englishman", he said to Queen Caroline in 1734). His cynicism was genuine as well, he saw no harm in allowing power to rest on the obvious and traditional form of Parliamentary corruption and elaborated system of patronage. The weak side of Walpole's regime was shown by the confusion of the British public in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, be it regarded from a Stuart or Hanoverian standpoint (for more corroborative evidence see Fielding's Tom Jones). The Whig's rule was based on no firm ideological (idealistic, patriotic, national, dynastic) grounds.

The most prominent feature of the eighteenth century was the diffusion of common sense and reasonableness in life and thought, to civilize manners and to humanize the behaviour of men. When the Stuarts disappeared from the English scene, the upper classes could still have been represented in fiction by widely divergent types of culture and manners as squire Western and squire Allworthy in Fielding's Tom Jones or "a gentleman of Worchestershire...(whose) singularities proceed from his good sense", Sir Roger Coverley of The Spectator. As patrons of arts and literature, the English upper class reached in the course of the century a point that they had never reached before. Not only great country seats with their splendid architecture, art treasures and vast libraries, but many smaller houses of gentry became focused on the art, science, and polite letters of the day (they found their expression immediately in the novels of Richardson and this tradition of cultivated politeness reached its regular standard of manners and speech when Jane Austen began to write).

The eighteenth century firmly established the custom of writing in English instead of Latin, British science thus became more than ever separated from the continent; thought and learning became more national, more popular and more closely connected to literature. However, the link with the continent remained strong; intellectuals of Europe admired the variety of English life reaching from sport, agriculture, and politics to theatre, literature, and philosophy. 'Le Grand Newton', Locke, Adam Smith, and Hume were the names honoured in Paris as in London or Edinburgh.

Literature in the reign of Charles II and after had, like the rest of Europe, begun to submit to the cultural influence of France. There was gain as well as loss in this "neoclassicism" after the French model (Boileau's Art Poétique – 1674 formulated the rules of this witty and elegant literature) – definite gain to English prose and probably loss to English poetry. Gain to clearness of thought and expression, loss to imagination. The English novel of the eighteenth century had been progressing independently on the foreign models, and created a variety of forms and narrative techniques reaching from Defoe through Swift, Richardson, and Fielding, to Sterne.


The Cartesian method (Discourse on Method – 1637) determined that nothing should be accepted on trust and the pursuit of truth is a matter of an individual independent of the tradition of past thought and, paradoxially, often arrived at by neglecting it. However, previous literary forms nearly always emphasized conformity to tradition and made conformity to something already existing the test of truth. For instance, the plots of medieval and renaissance epic were universally based on topics from the past, on generally accepted models of genres and the quality or merit of the literary work was judged according to formal skill with which the literary decorum as well as the adherence to the rules of the genres were being observed. This course of literary traditionalism was reversed by the novel; novel became the form of literature practically introducing the individualist reorientation based on individual experience which is always unique and therefore new. (The emphasis is expressed even semantically: "novel" means new, strange, not previously known). The novelist's primary task was to convey the impression of fidelity to all the kinds of human experience and the attention to any pre-arranged formal canon gradually became a serious drawback if not a damaging quality not only from the literary but also ethical (imitation, plagiarism) point of view.

The early history of the genre is seen in those forms that could have allowed for this "formlessmess" – the fiction which portrayed low or at least common everyday life. Chaucer's fabliaux as well as the picaresque novels of the seventeenth century brought in many "novelistic" motives individualizing economic, carnal, and emotional behaviour when portraying their characters. It is probably true that the very reason for these early attempts was a comic presentation of degenerated elements of medieval chivalry romance, but only when early authors stopped writing "inverted romances" and started to describe wider and wider varieties of human experience (including the spiritual and emotional) and not only those suited to one particular literary taste and narrative technique, did the novel become the new flexible medium capable of accomplishing the Cartesian task.

However, the absence of formal conventions in the novel is of no importance compared to its rejection of traditional plots, even if the degree and importance of its originality is never easy to judge. In the context of the eighteenth century, however, a new striking difference is seen at first sight: Defoe, Swift, Fielding, Richardson, Sterne, as well as Steele, Smollett, Arbuthnot did not (at least seriously) take their plots from mythology, history, or previous literature and if they did, they completely abandoned the general assumption of the past that Nature is essentially unchanging and its records (scriptural, legendary, or historical) contained a definitive and invariable set of experience. The authors of the early eighteenth century allowed their narratives to flow (seemingly) spontaneously serving only to a single purpose – to the plausibility and assertion of the primacy of the individual and original.

The plot had to be performed by particular people and their actions had to be placed in a new perspective. General human types of the past were no longer acceptable as well as the conventional background determined by classical or medieval conventions. Everything which exists is particular, said Bishop Berkeley in 1713, and it is the method, added Descartes, that gives modern thought unity and consistence. This particularity had to be established by transformation of the method, of the narrative techniques – by a new approach to characterization and setting. The novel separated from other genres as well as from the previous forms of fiction by the amount of space it gives both to the individualization of its characters and to the detailed presentation of their environment.

The individualized approach to character is closely connected with the problem of defining the individual person. Once Descartes had given processes within the individual's consciousness supreme importance the problem of personal identity attracted a great deal of attention. Technically it meant how novelists indicated their intention of presenting a character as an individuality. For early novelists it meant naming him or her in exactly the same way as individual persons are named in their ordinary lives (as Hobbes said 'Proper names bring to mind one thing only; universals recall any one of many'). The use of proper names became the expression of indidual identity for Defoe, Swift, and Fielding in the same way as "letter" became the expression of individual emotionality for Richardson. Unlike the previous forms of fiction where the proper names showed no author's intention to establish them as completely individualized beings, the early novelists made a significant break with the tradition and named their characters to suggest that they were to be regarded as individuals set into a contemporary social environment. Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Lemuel Gulliver are realistic names of the period, Richardson's romance-connotative Pamela is counterbalanced by the commonplace family name Andrews, even parody-sounding Tristram Shandy is subtly appropriate. Of course, the reference to the type did not disappear overnight. Names such as Heartfree, Allworthy, and Square as well as Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, Adams etc. in Fielding's novels (with the possible exception of Amelia) are just credible but, at the same time, they show the awareness of the unity between individual characters and general types. (However, an anecdote presented by Fielding's biographer Wilbur Cross must be added here – almost all Fielding's surnames are actually to be found in the list of subscribers to Gilbert Burnet's rather gossiping History of His (read My Own Times) from 1724 which Fielding is known to have possessed.)

Time is an essential category on the way towards definition of the individuality (implicitly Locke: 'ideas become general by separating from them the circumstances of time and place') so they become particular when both the circumstances are specified. Therefore the characters of the novels can only be individualized if they are set in specified time and place. Even if the concept of time as an essential factor of the physical world as well as the shaping force of man's individual and collective history has its origins in the Renaissance, it was the novel that started to use past experience as the cause of present action; a causal connection operating through time replaced former reliance on coincindences, chances or miracles and brought in a new kind of cohesion. The novel became close to the structures of daily experience and more directly depended upon a precisely discriminated time-scale that had been employed in older types of fiction. The celebrated classical and medieval personifications of time (the winged chariot, the Grim Reaper) were actually focused on timelessness and the most unfortunate outcome of it – death; the awareness of the gloomy details of everyday life had to be supressed in order to face inevitable eternity. On the other hand, the eighteenth century English novel presented a picture of life in its larger perspective and in a closer view as a process being carried out as a series of the most ephemeral thoughts and actions. The early novelist's manipulation of time may frequently be found trivial, elementary, often contradictory and inconsistent, nevertheless the reader is always deeply rooted in the temporal dimension. The case of Swift's Gulliver Travels, when the temporal historical condition implicitly forms an intergral part of the plot, is an extreme example. The variety of technical means is suprisingly wide here, from almost imperceptible allusions in Moll Flanders, through ironic and satirical hints in Tom Jones and Gulliver Travels through venomously critical comments on the times in A Modest Proposal to formal and careful superscription of each letter that gives us the maximum of temporal details (e.g. we may learn that Clarissa died at 6.40 p.m. on Thursday, 7 September) resembling the film technique of the 'close ups'. Fielding, however traditional he may seem in his handling of time dimension, claiming author's right to select and present both in time and space, introduced one interesting innovation in the fictional treatment of time. Applying probably his previous dramatic experience he used a sort of almanac, a contemporary symbol of objective sense of time; nearly all the events of Tom Jones are chronologically consistent and unambiguously, explicitly, and clearly related to such external consideration as the precise account of the moon phases and almost day-by-day chronology of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 (the year of the action of the novel).

Place was traditionaly as general and vague as time in tragedy, comedy or medieval romance. Sidney's Arcadia and Shakespeare's Bohemia were as if unaware of distinction of time or place. The picaresque novel brought in many passages of vivid and individualized physical and topographical description, they were incidental and fragmentary. On the other hand, the eighteenth century novel composed the narrative as if it occured in some actual physical (and often topographically precise) environment. Defoe's attention to the description of the environment makes an essence of his narrative techniques, the solidity of his settings, his treatment of movable objects surrounding e.g. Robinson (clothing and tools) or Moll Flanders (linen and gold) form visual and continuous implication of his narrative. The pursuit of verisimilitude led Defoe, Swift, Richardson, and Fielding (and in a very specific way Sterne) to initiate the technique of putting man fully into his physical setting which, in the course of the centuries to come, constituted the distictinctive quality of the novel form.

Finally, the previous tradition for fiction was not primarily concerned with the correspondence of words to things, but rather with the rhetoric elegance and verbal beauty of descriptions and actions. The narrative techniques of the eighteenth century novel, however tried to produce an authentic and complex account of the actual experience of individuals and the best efforts of the prose were adapted to give an air of this authenticity and complexity.


There had been much disagreement among critics about Defoe's actual contribution to the development of the novel. The merit of his narrative was considered "directly proportional to the intrinsic merit of a plain statement of the facts" and so Defoe "was a great liar, perhaps the greatest that ever lived." (L. Stephen and W. Minto, respectively). On the other hand, his books "... stand among the few great English novels which we can call indisputably great" (V. Woolf).

Daniel DEFOE (1660? – 1731) was the son of James Foe (Daniel assumed the aristocratic-sounding name Defoe when he was thirty-five), a London butcher. Much of his life is a matter of speculation since many of his activities demanded concealment which modern literary history has been only partially able to reveal. As a boy he was sent to non-conformist school to become a Presbyterian minister. At some time later he lived for a while in Spain and his travels seem to have taken him to France, Italy, and Bavaria. In 1684 he is mentioned as a prosperous London merchant in the hosiery business but in 1692 he owed the very considerable sum of 17000 pounds and had to pay the debt for many years after. At the beginning of the century there was definite but otherwise unknown involvement with Tory politicians, Lords Harley and Godolphin. His first publication of any importance was An Essay upon Project in 1697, in 1701 a vigorous satire, The True Born Englishman, supporting William III, this time from the Whig point of view. The Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702) was an ironic argument urging ruthless and total suppression of religious dissent and was publicly condemned as "seditious writing"; its author fined, imprisoned in Newgate, and on three successive days exposed in the pillory (the punisment ordinarily imposed on the lowest class of offenders). His Hymn to the Pillory, a mock-ode, was afterwards sold in the streets to sympathetic crowds. In 1706 True Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs Veal, a fictionalized report of a current ghost story appeared.

Defoe was nearly sixty years old when he started writing novels that were to assure his permanent place in the history of literature. In 1719 The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner, Told by Himself (followed by two nearly forgotten sequels The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe in 1719, and The Serious Reflection of Robinson Crusoe, with His Vision on the Angelick World in 1720) appeared. In 1720 he also published The Life, Adventures, and Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton; in 1722 The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, A Journal of the Plague Year, and The History and Remarkable Life of Colonel Jacque, Commonly Call'd. Then in 1724 followed Roxana: or the Fortunate Mistress and Memoirs of a Cavalier (published under the pseudonym Col. Andrew Newport). The series of Defoe's most important novels is completed in 1728 by The Memoirs of an English Officer (now frequently spoken of as Memoirs of Captain Carleton) whose authorship was at one time attributed to Swift. The accounts of Defoe's many travels are given in A New Voyage round the World (1724) and a few others travel books. He died in his lodging in Ropemaker's Alley, Moorfield and was buried in what is now Bunhill Fields cemetery.

Defoe's fiction stemmed from fictionalizing other literary forms that his contemporaries considered to be true and authentic, most notable among them being the polemic pamphlet, the biography, the history, the travel-book as well as very popular Puritan self-confession narratives, fictional moral tracts spontaneously recognized by new largely middle-class readers. Those readers were by their origin and education better adapted to receive this morally serious "realist" literature than older forms (and styles) of courtly genres. So when in 1704 sailor Alexander Selkirk, son of a shoemaker, joined a privateering expedition under Captain William Dampier and was, at his own request, put ashore on the uninhabited island of Juan Fernandez, where he remainded five years, and on his return met Richard STEELE who published an account of his experience in The Englishman (Dec.1713) he thus provided the plot for the most popular Defoe book, Robinson Crusoe (1719) which differs from Defoe's earlier works in that it mainly represents private moral zeal rather than a public demand for political or religious reform. The emphasis is put on spiritual rather than on political justice. Robinson Crusoe "of York, Mariner" actually gives slightly less than two-thirds of his narrative to his life on his desert island, but the account of those twenty-eight years forms the most important section of his recollections. From the viewpoint of the novel of adventure as well as the popular, moralistic Puritan self-confessions he is an ideal hero confronted with extraordinary kind of his experience. Crusoe is of "of good family" i.e. from religious, wealthy middle-class and of good education. His decision to go to sea is an act of false rebellion (see the Parable of Prodigal Son), determined on in defiance of the father and the mother, and the reader may (in a very explicit and didactic manner) trace his withdrawal from God's grace as well as the slow, painful redeeming journey to the restoration of this Grace in him. Although Robinson's self-exploratory time spent on the island, his cultivation of the land and of his soul, and his later imposition of Christian faith (as he understands it) on Friday, have often been interpreted as a road towards practical Christian utilitarianism, the story has probably more universal application. For instance, when his island is "peopled" Robinson thinks of himself as an "absolute Lord and Law-giver" but he establishes radical "Liberty of Conscience" which tolerates pagan, Protestant, and Catholic alike. More significantly, the idea of tolerance is being interwoven into Robinson's marvellously documented and detailed fight for mere survival treated as the fight of the ordinary human having to face an alien environment. Wherever possible he brings the surroundings under his instrumental, practical, and rational control and he reports his experience and his achievements meticulously almost day by day. He frequently repeats himself (on account of more authenticity), because he is at the same time recording the progress of his predominantly moral and spiritual survival. And last but not least, Robinson's methodical diary combines the delight taken in his resourcefulness with the old Protestant maxim that God helps those who help themselselves.

The Life, Adventures, and Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton (published in 1720) uses again the first-person narrator telling the story in a straight, linear manner. Singleton having "no sense of virtue or religion" takes part in a mutiny and is put ashore in Madagascar, he crosses the continent of Africa and obtains (after many adventures) much gold, which he foolishly wastes on his return to England. He takes once more to the sea, becomes a pirate in West Indies, Indian Ocean, and China Seas, acquires great wealth and finally, as a rich man, marries the sister of his shipmate.

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722) brought in a problem of depicting characters. Defoe does not portray his heroine's character. He rather reveals it through the reality of every action. Only when he attempts to fit all her deeds together and see them as an expression of an integral personality do we discover how surprisingly little we are told what we should need to know to establish the integrity, and how some things we are told seem quite contradictory. These narrative deficiencies are especially apparent in the treatment of personal relationships purporting to be the autobiography of the daughter of a woman who had been transported to Virgian for theft and left her child abandoned in England. The story relates Moll's being brought up by the mayor of Colchester, her seduction, her subsequent marriages and love-affairs, and her visit to Virginia, where she found her mother and discovered that she had been married to her unknown brother. After returning to England she became an extremely successful pickpocket, but she was caught and transported to Virginia in company with another of her former husbands, a highwayman. With the spoils that they had amassed they set up as planters and spent the rests of their lives in penitence and prosperity. Defoe's laconic narrative method is highly effective when describing the environments and various sorts of Moll's actions. However, Moll's conflicting feelings are reduced to the bare facts, usually at the moment when they have lost the potential for psychological explanation. Also the character of Moll as a wife is totally inconsistent with that of Moll as a mother. Defoe's narrative did not consider the attitudes of characters to each other as realities on which his technique should focus; it seems that the early novelist supposed their readers would accept everything that is specifically stated and draw no conclusion from omissions, however significant they may seem to the modern reader. Defoe (unlike more sophisticated Fielding) did not keep his characters in mind when they were off stage (a fact that Fielding the dramatist and producer was permanently aware of even in his novels).

A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), "observations or memorials of the most remarkable occurences, as well public as private, which happened in London during the last great visitation in 1665", purports again to be an authentic evidence written "by a Citizen who continued all the while in London." Though no one in Defoe's London realized it, the threat of an epidemc of bubonic plague gradually receded in the eighteenth century and again the book was intended both as a warning to the present before the Wrath of God and as an example of endurance and spiritual reassessment in the not so distant past. The citizen (a saddler by trade, probably Defoe's uncle, Henry Foe) records, provides primitive statistical data, presents the contemporary official documents, and most of all analyses and searches for the reasons. His account is at the same time a series of moral stories preaching Christian comfort and charity as well as condemning the evidently irreligious self-seeking of others, The book also works as a narrative of shrewd eye-witness, "one private mean Person", faced with an incomprehensible public problem.

The History and Remarkable Life of Colonel Jacque, Commonly Call'd (published in 1722) is another novel of adventure with a strong moral message. Narrated by the hero himself in the first person again it describes the parentless childhood of a boy, who fell into bad company and became a pickpocket. The profession was so distasteful to that he joined the army and presently deserted to avoid being sent to Flanders (the Marlborough Wars) He was kidnapped, sent to Virginia and sold to a planter. There he was made a foreman and given hise liberty, and became a planter himself. However, when he returned home he had a series of unfortunate matrimonial adventures. He reached prosperity only after he had repented of what he had done. Much of the problem here lies in Defoe's inconsistency and unease with the sins in which Jack indulges and his intention to present the book as evidence of the ultimate moral. Again the solution is rather trivial: "One private mean Person's Life may be many ways made Useful, and Instructing to those who read them, if moral and religious improvement, and Reflections are made by those that write them."

The Fortunate Mistress (generally known as Roxana) (1724) is again a purported autobiography of Mlle Beleau, the beautiful daughter of French Protestant refugees, brought up in England and married to a London brewer, who deserts her and her five children. She embarks on a carreer of prosperous courtesan, passing from one protector to another in England, France, and Holland, amassing much wealth, and receiving the name Roxana. She is accompanied in her adventures by a faithful maid, Amy, a very human figure. She finally marries a Dutch merchant and lives as a highly respected person, until the husband discovers her deceit. When he dies, shortly afterwards, he leaves her only s small sum of money. She is imprisoned for debts; in prison she repents of her misdeeds.

Memoirs of a Cavalier (written by a "Col. Andrew Newport") (1724) and Memoirs of Captain Carleton (published in 1728 as The Memoirs of an English Officer and attributed to Swift) are providing for the general demand for "the authentic" and instructive genres. Newport is a young English gentleman who traces and describes in detail the first two stages of the Thirty Years War in Germany. After his return to England he takes part in the first stage of the English Revolution from the battle of Edgehill to the battle of Naseby. Captain Carleton, less than a generation his junior, takes an active part in the Dutch War 1672, then becomes an officer in the army of James II during the campaigns in Scotland and Flanders. The most interesting is Carleton's part in the Wars of Spanish Succession with the stirring narrative of the siege, capture, and final relief of Barcelona. The vivid account of various parts of Spain is the reason of the belief that Defoe spent some time of his life there.

The authenticity of Defoe's literary method has, quite naturally, many weak points; the plots are more crude picaresque than those of his literary contemporaries. They are episodic and the basic conflict is not fully embodied in terms of relationships between characters. The issue of the conflict is similarly ambiguous: the moral, social, and religious standards which are broken and lead to final punishment of the hero/ heroine for his/her defying self-assertion are far less convincingly presented than the breaches and crimes of them. The positive and may be everlasting value of the works of Defoe is the vision of life not remarkable for its wisdom or piety or elegance but for its energy leaving behind many of medieval virtues and installing new (middle-class) ones. Defoe's books are a series of variations on individualism's eternal challenge to any established orthodoxy of the present and too well established orthodoxy of the past.


Dr Johnson, writing in The Rambler in 1750, spoke of contemporary works of fiction which "are such as exhibit life in its true state, diversified only by accidents that daily happen in the world, and influenced by passions and qualities which are really to be found in conversing with mankind." The "heroick romance", Johnson implied, was now dead and in its place appeared a new kind of fiction whose domain was "to bring about natural events by easy means and to keep up curiosity without the help of wonder." The contribution of HENRY FIELDING to the development of the English novel can probably be formulated in no better way. However, his gentlemanly literary career did not begin in prose fiction (that established his everlasting literary fame) but in the theatre and journalism.

Henry Fielding was born in 1707 in Somerset. He attended Eton, where he was given a deep grounding in the Greek and Latin classics, and continued in Leyden, Holland, where he studied law and literature. At the age of twenty he established himself in London first as a playwright for "patented theatres", later as an author, producer and manager of his own (unlicensed) theatre, The Little Haymarket, where he produced most successfully his dramatic burlesques, of which Tom Thumb revised as The Tragedy of Tragedies (1731) and rather sensationally titled The Rape upon Rape; or the Justice Caught in his own Trap, renamed as The Coffee-house Politician (1731), somehow survived till our times. He played very ingeniously with the dramatic effects of the parasitic plot utilizing the well established modes of literary mannerim extending them by highly topical (and political) allusions of contemporary events. His satirical "cabarets" (rather loosely connected flow of dramatic sketches, topical songs, tunes, and dances) Pasquin and The Historical Register for 1736 brought his theatrical career to an abrupt end (The Licensing Act of 1737 was passed and all the London "fringe" theatres were closed.)

He resumed his legal studies and to support himself he published a thrice-weekly Anti-Jacobite magazine The Champion (1739 – 1741), most of whose contributions he wrote himself. Even there, he showed his inclination towards various kinds of witty parody. The appearance of Richardson's Pamela: or the Virtue Rewarded (1740) heartily disgusted him and the next year he probably (he never admitted it) published An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, by Mr Conny Keyber, rather riotous (and partly obscene) burlesque not only of Richardson epistolary technique and of pseudovirtuous self-regard of the heroine, but also of naive and pompous self-satisfaction of Colley Cibber, well known contemporary actor, theatrical manager, poet, and writer of famous Apology, as well as Rev. Conyers Middleton's style of his topical (and dreadfully sycophantic) essays on the works of prominent literary personages of the times. He made a second assault on Richardson in Joseph Andrews and his Friend, Mr Abraham Adams (1742), a novel that began the transformation of the linear shape of picaresque novel into a sophisticated discourse quite alien to Richardson. In 1743 he collected much of his work in three volumes of Miscellanies, which included poems, essays, translation, and prose satires. Here appeared for the first time the ironic Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, a satire on the contemporary ideal of the "great man" (bringing in "all manners of mischief" and contrasting them to "good man" doing his best to remove it). However, the parody on the life of Sir Robert Walpole, only recently fallen after more than twenty years in the office of Prime Minister, seems dubious. Fielding' s grim narrative presents a story of a notorious criminal – hanged in 1725 – as an admirable example of an unscrupulous, powerful, and therefore "great man". (The technique applied later in Thackeray's novels of the nineteenth century).

His masterpiece with a huge, lively, and structured plot, History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, (in six volumes published in 1749) keeps the picaresque linear plot this time with fully developed subplot (the story of Sophia Western) and is frequently interrupted with brief essays on various subjects: comments on the genre of (e.g. "our labours have sufficient title to the name of history"), on the quality of character ("it is often the same person who represents the villain and the hero") as well as mock philosophical treatments of various topics of every day life (e.g. The Introduction explaining the philosophy of authorship). Despite the evident narrative gusto of Tom Jones, Fielding is said be fondest of his final novel, Amelia (1751), describing the various domestic and married problems of Amelia, based on the portrait of Fielding's wife, Charlotte, who died in 1744, and Captain Billy Booth, clearly containing some elements of the author's own character, and referring to a few episodes of their life together. The tone of Amelia is definitely more moral and less humorous than in the earlier works and the book has not met with critical success. However, Amelia outsold everything that Fielding had written before and improved his financial situation. In that time his health was failing, he suffered from gout, asthma, and dropsy for years. In 1754 he set off for Portugal in search of a healthier climate; his experience on the trip is recorded in his Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (posthumously in 1755). He died in 1754 and was buried in the English cemetery in Lisbon.

Fielding had learned much from his early experience of stage writer and director. His delight in burlesque influenced his (never recognized) satire on Richardson Shamela that purports to set a record straight by "exposing and refuting ... many notorious Falsehoods and Misrepresentations" of the account given by Richardson. The image of Pamela is thus presented "in a true and just Light" as a cool calculating female hypocrite. The book begins with letters that gullible parson Tickletext writes to his friend parson Olivier about "our sweet, dear, pretty Pamela" although he has in his possession some letters which reveal a different history. Pamela , although always stressing her "Vartue", appears as a person whose morals are strictly given by expediency. Parson Williams appears as a scheming rogue and also Pamela's employer and future husband, referred by Richardson as Mr. B, is exposed in full name as "Booby", and given a different (not so unsympathetic) character than that presented in the original. Richardson was convinced that the work was Fielding's and never forgave him.

The mock-epistolary form used Shamela was replaced in the second Fielding assault on Richardson, The Adventures of Joseph Andrews, in 1742 by a regular third-person narrative. The "omniscience" of the all-knowing narrator (however respected by many novelists of the nineteenth century as practically only serious possibility of novel writing) is presented in the parodic, over-talkative form (later described as an "unreliable narrator"). The novel begins with an account of the complications of Pamela's brother in the service of another branch of the "Booby" family and gradually transforms the mood of the picaresque and experiments with neo-classical form of sophisticated fiction (Fielding calls it "a comic epic poem in prose"). Lady Booby makes amorous advances to Joseph (secretly in love with the maid-servant, Fanny,) and when he rejects them he is thrown out. He set off on foot to return to Somerset where his sister Pamela is married into another family branch of the Boobys. On the way he is robbed and wounded and he is taken naked to an inn kept by Mr Towouse, and there he meets parson Abraham Adams, whom he knows from his service at the London Boobys. Adams turns back with Joseph towards Somerset and rescues a girl who appears to be Fanny on her way to look for Joseph. The three travellers, Joseph, Fanny, and Adams are constantly falling in troubles and are constantly rescued by poor travellers, poachers or coachmen. Eventually they are saved by Mr. Wilson, a country gentleman, but Joseph and Fanny are caught again by another intrigue of Lady Booby trying to secure Joseph for herself.. Young Squire Booby (the reformed Mr B. of Richardson) and Adams help them and a series of events reveals that Joseph is the son of Wilson and Fanny is Pamela's sister. They are married and parson Adams is given a handsome living. Fielding presented here the wide range of characters, incidents, and diction, together with the parodic references to heroic epic, this time shaped according to classical comic principles. Prose fiction, as Fielding showed in Joseph Andrews, could easily take a moral standpoint without resorting to sentimentalist hypocrisy of Richardsonian novels, such as Pamela, and at the same time could laugh away faults better than preaching against them. The novel, as its full title suggest, has two heroes, the innocent Joseph and his equally innocent Christian protector and companion parson Adams. Formally, Joseph and Adams are wanderers of the picaresque novel, although this time encountering (and finally) winning over selfishness, villainy, and corruption without being the part of them. The outer world, through which they pass, is surprisingly illuminated by the unseen-before charity of the humble and meek.

This is, of course, not the case of The Life of Jonathan Wild the Great (published in Miscellanies in 1743) that is again following the line of ridiculously exposing the hypocritical and corrupt and technically further extending the linear plot (that moreorless puts one incident after another with very loose, if ever existing causal nexus). The character of Jonathan Wild, the real existing figure of a man hanged for theft and thief-taking in 1725, is traced from his birth to his death through a series of episodes involving thieves, highwaymen, prostitutes, cheats, crooks, murderers, and the brutal and corrupt officers of Newgate prison. Great attention is being paid to a "moral end" of the novel: the fate of an innocent and gullible jeweller Heartfree and his family. Its is, however, highly dubious, that Fielding's caustic criticism is directly focused on the career of Sir Robert Walpole (the evident hostility existing between them and often presented in Fielding's plays ended, rather mysteriously, about 1740 at the latest). The general tone of "goodness" and "greatness" compared with the topicality of incidents rather exclude the possibility.

Again, the composition of his longest and most famous novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749) is hard to explain without pointing to Fielding's theatrical experience. The story of the wayward foundling Tom is set into the Christian balance of faith and works and may be deemed morally ambiguous, but it is definitely composed by a skilfull stage director who is aware of the run of dramatic time and his duty to provide in due time and amount all the information he deems necessary for his audience. The order of such information and the accent put on it is given by the instantaneous effect on the spectators' minds. The shape of Fielding's narrative is a basic set of the genre; the comic journey towards "prudence and religion", however complex and epic it may be, remains firmly dramatic and structurally organized. The novel is divided into eighteen books, the first six establish Tom's supposed origins, his education in the house of Squire Allworthy and his various mischief leading eventually to his repudiation. The second six trace his journey (accompanied by the schoolmaster Partridge turned into barber surgeon) to London, a journey consistently paralleled by that of his beloved, but often estranged Sophia Western, and the last six bringing all the characters together and presenting various aspects of immoral life of the metropolis. The novel, written in clear neoclassical form, contains a whole series of comments on other eighteenth century forms: the satire, the comedy, the mock-heroic, and "a novel-within-a-novel" (completely self sustained The Story of the Man of the Hill). Further, the book contains "pauses" in which the omniscient narrator explains his method (frequently explaining the complexity of his plot, and the consistent subplot of Sophia's story applied for the first time), the views on literary criticism, on philosophy, or on "little or nothing" (mostly observations on every day life). Fielding happily presents gentleman-like spontaneity, sharply distinguishing it from wickedness, corruption, and hypocrisy.

In his last and most sombre novel, Amelia, in 1752, Fielding openly announced the retreat from comic (or mock-heroic) claiming his book was "sincerely designed to promote the cause of virtue, and to expose some of the most glaring evils, as well public as private, which at present infest the country" (the purpose that every single "The Condition of England" novelist of the nineteenth century would have gladly subscribed to). The life of Amelia and her husband, Captain Booth, starts with tender descriptions of family hapiness. The character of Amelia, loving, forgiving, and strong female character (known to be a portrait of Fielding wife Charlotte) is set in London of Hogarthian squalor, corruption and violence. Amelia's husband, Captain Booth (bearing some resemblance to Fielding himself), is imprisoned because he cannot bribe his way out. At the prison Booth meets an old acquaintance, Miss Matthews, a courtesan, and they exchange their life stories. Booth's friend, a Colonel James, gets Booth out of the prison and takes Miss Matthews out, too, as his mistress. Booth than begins a rakish life of gambling and fishing for an officer's commission. Amelia is left in poverty and distress but she is still in love with him. Then a mysterious character called "My Lord" appears wanting to ensnare Amelia and make her his mistress. Amelia is invited to a fancy-ball by My Lord but sharply warned by her only remaining friend, the learned widow, Mrs Bennet, not to go. After many dangers and complications, during one of which Mrs. Bennet obtains Booth's commision for her new husband (to Amelia's fury and sorrow), Booth's constant friend, Dr. Harrison, pays off the debts and helps Booth to return to the farming life he always liked. Amelia discovers she has inherited her mother's fortune and they retire to happy and prosperous life again. In Amelia Fielding definitively left the technique of the epic journey (i.e. the picaresque) of his earlier fiction. The uncertain career of Captain Booth as well as the frequent distress of his prudent and loving wife, were set in a relatively narrow and restricted space of central London and the emphasis was put on completely new quality – overall impression of oppressivenes and wicked temptation of London life. Despite its vivid description of the worse aspects of urban life and the exposure of trickery, crookery, and vulgarity, and its relatively "deep" psychological intensity, Amelia is (probably due to its enormous length) considered Fielding's weakest novel.

Fielding eventually began to see his own society as offering sufficient interests and variety to make possible a new genre exclusively devoted to involving the reader in a more complex and, paradoxically, far closer examination of the nature and manners of society than had ever been attempted before. His most specific literary debt manifested in Tom Jones and The Life of Jonathan Wild the Great is to drama. The remarkable coherence between the main plot and subplots in Tom Jones is probably the product of the praticising dramatist's experience with tempo, rhytm, and the construction of dramatic performance (frequently providing an attractive surprise at the cost of a loss of authenticity, consistency and plausibility).


The importance of two novels by Samuel Richardson Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded (in two volumes in 1740 and 1741) and Clarissa: or, The History of a Young Lady (published in 1747 and 1748) is enormous (and definitely outshines Richardson's third novel Sir Charles Grandison in 1753, a portrait and ideal embodiment of masculine character and sentiment, now usually mentioned for the sake of completeness only). Samuel RICHARDSON was born in 1689 in Derbyshire in family of nine children and was intended for the Church but his father had to put him into work at the publisher's. Then he became a typesetter, and a proofreader in a printing office, and in 1719 started a printing business of his own. Richardson came to fiction by an unpredictable route. At the request of two other printers he prepared "a little volume of letters, in a common style, on such subject as might be of use to country readers who are unable to indite [express in writing] for themselves." This appeared in 1741 and the text also provided the instructions "how to think and act justly and prudently in the Common Concerns of Human Life." Around this arose Richardson's first novel Pamela, published in two volumes in 1740 and 1741. Richardson mostly provided model letters of consolation, excuses for not lending money, and formal recommendations for wet-nurses but seven letters, that made him famous, emphasized the danger surrounding young women – especially when goodlooking – as family servants. The story of a Miss Pamela Andrews was told only partly through the long letters to her respectable parents; later she took recourse in her diary.

This was followed by Richardson's second and greatest novel Clarissa: the History of a Young Lady, that surpassed the quality of Pamela, and only affirmed Richardson's European fame. The story of unfortunate Clarissa Harlowe comprises 537 letters and is considered the longest English novel ever written. The subtitle, "the Distresses that may attend Misconduct both of Parents and Children in relation to Marriage", shows that Richardson intended the book as some complement to Pamela. Both the books reached a large European readership. Richardson even got a very favourable entry in French Encyclopedia. However, the remark of great English letter-writer, pioneer feminist, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 – 1762) should be noted: "Pamela has become the joy of chambermaids of all nations" – the remark intended to diminish the Richardson's achievement but paying an involuntary tribute to the classless and timeless appeal of a new modification of the novel genre.

PAMELA: or Virtue Rewarded purports to be a collection of letters (epistolary novel) and a diary, of which Richardson presents himself as the "editor". He believed (as he explained to Aaron Hill in 1741) that Pamela "might possibly introduce a new species of writing" (the false assumption since few novels of the genre existed already in English and French) However, the discovery of individualized human emotionalism, the emotional human response to the condition of the surrounding world is definitely Richardson's. There are six correspondents in Pamela, most having their own style and point of view, but Pamela herself provides most of the letters while "the hero" (and antagonist), Mr. B only two. The plot has to be derived from the feelings and emotions (very rarely from factual statements) of the correspondents. The kind employer of young, fifteen years old, handsome, Pamela Andrews, dies and she is pursued by young Mr B., the son of the family she is serving. Pamela refuses him and remains firmly determined to retain her chastity and untroubled conscience. It is revealed that Mr B. tries (rather agressively) to dominate, however, but there is also some half acknowledged tenderness, mixed with vanity, prudence, and calculation on Pamela's side. Mr B. separates Pamela from her friend and sends her to his remote house, where she is imprisoned, guarded and threatened by Mr B.'s stooge, Mr Jewkes. The friendly chaplain, Mr Williams, is powerless to help. For forty days of her imprisonment she keeps a journal giving a detailed account of her situation and the feelings (some of them are of horror "Gothic" nature). She despairs and thinks of suicide. Mr B. supposes that her spirit must now be broken and arrives at B-Hall. He offers to make her his mistress and awaits Pamela's gratitude. She refuses again and he attempts to rape her. Then he tries to arrange a mock-marriage. However, two letters describing two scenes by the pond mark a turning point. Both begin to be aware of their faults as well as the genuine nature of their affection. But Pamela refuses his proposal of marriage once again. Mr B. sends her away from B-Hall but gives her a last chance. Overcoming her pride and caution, Pamela decides to trust him and accept his offer. They are married. In the last third of the book Pamela tries to win the Christian love of Mr B., but also the favour of hostile Lady Davers, his sister. In Part II Pamela is presented, through various small incidents and instances, as the perfect wife who leads her rakish husband to reform, a mother who adores her children, and who generally brings about the penitence of the wicked. Much space is given to discussion of moral, domestic, and every day subjects. Pamela's letters and journal are private and immediate and a reader is (intentionally) led to the assumption that he has witnessed her most intimate states of mind and soul. The reward for Pamela's virtue is respect, and ultimately the love and Christian life of her former master, Mr B., but the slowness of the process persuaded many readers(and it rather does so even now) to see her as a calculating hypocrite well aware of the marital price of her virtue. Some of these problems are partly explained by the intimate character of the narrative allowing to show frustrated sexuality charged with the mutual incomprehension of man-master and woman-servant.

Similar charges, however, cannot be brought against the Richardson masterpiece, the huge but carefully conceived and structured CLARISSA: or, The History of a Young Lady, an epistolary novel again, published between 1748 – 49 in 8 volumes. The novel has four major letter-writers: the heroine, Clarissa Harlowe, and her friend Anna Howe, the villain, Lovelace, and his friend John Belford, and a few minor correspondents providing for the development of the plot but differentiated by their involment or detachment, perception and indolence, elegance and semi-literacy. Clarissa is thus not merely multivoiced, it is also aware of and attempts to exploit the narrative potential of multiple points of view. This approach, whose tendency towards chaos and misunderstanding is evident, is faced by Richardson's deliberate and punctilious adherence to chronoligical discipline. Anna Howe's short opening letter to Clarissa expresses concern "for the disturbances that have happened in your family" thus announcing the theme. Then the plot is again to be revealed from various explicit and implicit hints and allusion of the correnspondents. The Harlowes are an ambitious, "narrow-souled" family, and when Lovelace, young handsome rake, transfers his affections from Arabella Harlowe to her elder sister, Clarissa, they decide that he is not good enough and Clarissa must marry the wealthy, but otherwise detestable, Solmes. Lovelace cleverly represents himself as her deliverer and persuades her to escape (under his protection) to London and reconcile with the family from there. In London he establishes her in a first-class brothel and tries to seduce her. He is, however, attracted by her resistance and finds his love and respect for her increases. Clarissa is fascinated by Lovelace's charm and wit, but she distrusts him and refuses his proposal of marriage. Then Lovelace retreats into deception, first deceiving her over a false emissary from her family, then violently assaulting and finally raping her. Clarissa loses the grip on her reason and Lovelace realizes that he had lost the very dominance he had hoped to achieve. Clarissa eventually escapes, only to find herself trapped in a debtors' prison. She is rescued by noble Belford, while Lovelace is owerwhelmed by remorse. Clarissa does not recover from her suffering and the fact that she contemplates death and prepares herself for it is reported in Belford's letters full of compassionate emotiveness. After her death Colonel Morden, her cousin, kills Lovelace in a duel. However the core of the novel is not formed by the troubles of the heroine, they do not lie in the Clarissa's fight against personal, emotional, economic, and emotional persecution, but, as Richardson put it, in "the Misconduct both of parents and Children, in Relation to Marriage" and women are (significantly) warned against "that dangerous but too commonly received notion that a reformed rake makes the best husband." The novel consistently demonstrates how authority and power are misused, both by parents and lovers. Clarissa, the victim of parental bullying, sibling rivalry, and the spiritual and finally the physical abuse of her lover, is presented as a model of conscience and dignity who awaits her martyrdom with patience and intelligence. Were there not her demonstrative virtue, she could easily stand as the first heroine of French bourgeois novel of the nineteenth century while her seducer, Lovelace, would fit into any Restoration "comedy of manners".

In Clarissa Richardson definitely (in Pamela partially) solved many of the formal problems of the novel, and brought the new form into a relationship with the highest moral and literary standards of his times. The epistolary novel, true, lacks tempo and vividness but in Richardson rendering represents a coherent literary art. The constant and consistent attention to the "sentiments" of his characters brought in a completely new relationship between traditional concept of "balance between incidents and sentiments." The preference of "sentimental" (psychological) at the cost of a swift running, adventurous and attractive story definitely turned the tide towards growing interest in human psychology and its literary description.


The work of Jonathan Swift has often been presented as literature of diseased misanthropism, the work of a man who saw his fellows as the Yahoos of the fourth book of Gulliver. However, many of Swifts's pamphlets show the genuine understanding (even if expressed in a very orginal way) of the human condition. The life of Jonathan SWIFT (1667 – 1745) was a mixture of bitter disappointments and hollow triumph. He was born in Dublin, educated at Kilkenny Grammar school (with William Congreve, famous playwright of the times), then at Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained his degree only by "special grace" (due to his offences against discipline). In 1689 he was admitted to the house of Sir William Temple, diplomat, politican and political essayist, as a secretary and here he tried his hand at poetry (however, John Dryden, his cousin, is said to remark, "Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet"). Disappointed at his dependent position and indignant at Temples's unwillingness to get him preferment, he returned to Ireland and was ordained (1694) and got the small vicarage of Kilroot but two years after, he returned to Temple at Moor Park where he first met Esther Johnson – "Stella", the daughter of another Temple's servant. On the death of Temple in 1699, Swift went to Ireland and was given a prebend in St. Patrick's, Dublin. In the course of numerous visits to London he became acquainted with leading literary and political personages, mostly Tories, whose party he openly joined in 1710. In 1713 he became dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin. In 1708 another woman entered his life, Ester Vanhomrigh – "Vanessa", while his relation with "Stella" may have even reached some secret form of marriage. The fall of the Tories in 1714 brought together their intellectual adherents (Pope, Arbuthnot, Gay) to form THE SCRIBLERUS CLUB and Swift was one of them. Since that time his interest in Irish and English politics is strongly anti-Whig and anti-Walpole. The symptoms of the mental illness (now thought to be Meniére's disease) became very marked in his last years to such a degree that many considered him insane. He died in 1745 and was buried by the side of "Stella" ("Vanessa" died in 1723, Stella in 1728) in St. Patrick's, Dublin.

Swifts's literary work is enormous; it includes political writings attacking various politicians (mostly Prime Minister Walpole), pamphlets relating to Irish problems (A Modest Proposal being the most important), pamphlets on Church question, miscellaneous satires and occassional poetry, diaries, and letters (those to Stella and Vanessa of very intimate nature). In 1704 he published anonymously the first of his satirical and controversial pamphlets, A Tale of a Tub – a vigorous and brilliant satire on the division of the Christian Church (Queen Anne was said to comment that the author of such a book "was not a fit man to be a bishop"). The story of a father who leaves as a legacy to his three sons, Peter (St. Peter i.e. the symbol of Catholic Church), Martin (i.e. Martin Luther symbolizing the Protestants), and Jack (either Calvin or Knox representing dissenters), a fine coat to each, with the order that on no account they are to be altered. The sons gradually disobey the father's will and start finding excuses for adding trifles and trimmings according to the prevailing fashion. Finally Martin and Jack quarrel with the arrogant Peter, and then with each other, and separate.(The title is a satirical allusion on Hobbes' Leviathanseamen divert an attacking whale by throwing out an empty tub, so the story is intended to divert possible attackers – Hobbes being one of them – from picking holes in the weak sides of religion and government). In the same volume The Battle of the Books (written, however, in 1697) was published originating from the request by modern books that the ancient shall evacuate the higher of the two peaks of (literary) Parnassus which they have occupied. The issue is discussed between a spider living in the corner of the library and a bee caught in the web. Then the fight is conducted with great vigour (e.g. Aristotle aims at Bacon but hits Descartes), the ancients have the advantage but in the end the issue is undecided. In another early work, The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit (1704), Swift mystifies his readers by pretending a scientific examination of the phsysiological means by which preachers produce a spiritual response in their congregations. In Abolishing of Christianity (1708), a more elaborate treatment, the mystifying assumption is that there is a general agreement in favour of abolition and he takes up the character of a prudent (if too bold) observer who thinks that the step may be "attended with some inconveniences." From the opening page we are led to expect an attack upon the lack of true religiosity, but Swift finally shocks conventional Christians by announcing that it is only "Nominal Christianity that he proposes to defend" and this only for its political expendiency; true Christian faith is of no interest for him. Swift's identification with the interests of Ireland is seen from a series called The Drapier's Letter (1724) reflecting the issue of so called "Wood's Half pence" (i.e. the right to supply copper coins for Ireland that was sold to a private contractor named Wood). The letters produced immense effect and the government was forced to abandon the project and Swift was raised to the status of an Irish national hero.

The masterpieces of Swift's prose style that established a completely new tradition of wit are the two works of his later period: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and Then a Captain of Several Ships (published in 1726) and A Modest Proposal for preventing the Children of poor People of Ireland from being a Burden to theor Parents or Country and for making them beneficial to the Publick (from 1729). Here Swift seems to be well aware of the new styles prevailing in contemporary prose, especially those intended for the purposes of propaganda where simplicity suggested plain statement and a straightforward approach. Of course, his style bordering on parody and ridicule osccilllates between the dry style of most of the contemporary essays and is an ironic cultivation of matter-of fact, "authentic" narrative style of contemporary books of travel or novels of adventure. The early pages of each of the Gulliver's Travels, purported to be narrated by a moderately educated plain man telling the plain story in the plainest possible way, starts with giving a brief account of very commonplace circumstances in a pedestrian manner (probably mocking Defoe's construction of introductory chapters; it is hard to find any substantial difference of style between the beginning of Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels). Swift's description of Gulliver's arrival on the shore of Lilliput and Defoe's description of saving the things from the wrecked ship could be produced as a typical illustration of higly sensoric as well as plain, unornamental prose. Here also lies another secret of Swift's mystification method, he is able to adopt a convincing variety of roles and corresponding styles with shades of plainlessness spanning from common-sense reasoning through utter stupidity and/or further to those of eloquence and elegance of the old modes of learned speculation fitting the moral and instructive styles. Gulliver's Travels, as Swift admitted, were written "to vex the world rather than divert it. It is a satire on contemporary government and society. In Lilliput we see the England of Queen Anne and George I. The account of this land of "six inches tall" pygmies is elaborated with delightful wit with which English history, religion and religious tradition, politics and political parties, and contemporary manners of ruling elite are seen by "an innocent eye" of "true-born Englishman". On his second voyage, Gulliver visits a land of giants, Brobdingnag, and the king, after inquiring into the manners, government, and learning of Europe (presented by Gulliver in Lockean terms), sums up of what Gulliver tells him in a straight Hobbesian way: "By what I have gathered from your own relation ... I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious (harmful) race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered..." The third part, Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnago, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan, deals with a visit to the flying island of Laputa and its neighbouring continent. Here the satire (higly topical and practically completely lost on us now) is directed against philosophers, scientists, historians, and projectors, with many references to contemporary affairs ("The South Sea Bubble", the trial of Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Exeter). In the fourth part, Voyage into the Land of the Houyhnhnms, Swift describes a country of horses endowed with reason and their rational, clean, and simple society contrasted with the filthiness and brutality of the Yahoos, beasts resembling humans whose vices Gulliver is gradually forced to admit. He becomes so allienated from mankind that when he finally returns home he recoils from his own family with disgust. The Houyhnhnms are animals with reason, the Yahoos are human beings, without the gift of reason. Gulliver is different from both in that he is a human being with reason. He is obliged to give an account of the uses to which reason is put in the land where he comes from. Swift takes advantage of the fact that the Houyhnhnms know nothing of wickedness, so that everything has to be explained in detail. This device (the report to the uninitiated listener) enables Swift again to order his details in cold, purely matter-of-fact statements leading finally to a powerful (and fearful) concentration of the images of human wickedness and self-destruction. The conclusion which Swift draws – that man is virtually a Yahoo or worse – is outrageous and hard to accept. The answer where Swift has deviated from a true view of human nature borders on the essence of human existence. From the Christian point of view, the relevant fact is man's moral weakness caused by the Fall and there must be Christian charity in judging him. Another answer might be that man has achieved only a limited rationality and morality, so that his failure must be expected. And finally (as many historians of literature believe), the fourth voyage is a product of the misanthropic and tormented side of his nature.

His most popular pamphlet, A Modest Proposal (1729), in which he suggest that the children of the poor be fattened to provide meat for the rich "that..will.. serve in a fricassee or a ragout", and such a menu is described as "innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual." And, moreover, "this new table delicacy will be very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children." A Modest Proposal – perhaps the most tremendous pamphlet ever written, is based on Swift's capacity to see all the possibilities for wit in a situation and to achieve a series of surprises. The proposal is therefore stated without any shame in all the shocking details. Thus the horrors are all the more effective because they are not presented as such. They are just introduced casually as a part of the argument, as evidence for, or as an illustration of, the project. The appeal to the reader's practical reasonableness without any attempt to excite pity or indignation serves for final and frontal attack (as in many other Swift's works) - on the (Whig) government whose disastrous policy in Ireland lead to no difference "even from LAPLANDERS and the inhabitants of TOPINAMBOO..."

Swift's contribution to the development of modern English fiction lies in establishing a new tradition of wit based on fictitious and mystifying attitudes. The immense freedom, which is often guarded by consummate control, with which Swift handles his themes, is the evidence of a liberating experience not only for an author but also for a reader. The intellectual satisfaction that satirical mystification provides has given an endless stimulus to human imagination.


For everybody interested in the formal possibilities of fiction, the book of Laurence STERNE (1713 – 1768) The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (published in nine volumes at irregular intervals between 1760 and 1767) is the most essential source of information on the theory of novel considered as a game between a sophisticated author and a sophisticated reader. Sterne, son of a poor infantry subaltern, was born at Clonmel in 1713, and spent (although he was a grandson of an archbishiop of York) his early childhood in various barracks in Ireland and England, where he developed his affection for military men of every rank and position. He studied at his uncle's at Yorkshire and then at Cambridge. During his studies he contracted tuberculosis. He was ordained and obtained a vicarage in Yorkshire in 1738 and three years later he married and became a canon of York cathedral. He also became a Justice of the Peace and in 1744 he obtained another prebend. His literary career started with a caustic satire on local church bodies, A Political Romance (later renamend The History of a Good Warm Watch Coat), and the ecclesiastical authoritities had it burned. In 1759 he began Tristram Shandy, the first two volumes, written "under the greatest heaviness of heart" (his mother and uncle died and his wife suffered from a mental breakdown), were published in York in 1759 (next year they appeared in London). Early in 1760 Sterne found himself famous, he went to London was portrayed by Reynolds and invited to Court and got his third prebend in Coxwold, Yorkshire, where he happily settled. He published The Sermons of Mr Yorick and continued with Tristram Shandy. In 1762 his voice was much affected and he left for France where the Sternes lived in Toulouse and Montpelier until 1764. In 1765 he return to England wher he published Vols VII and VIII of Tristram Shandy. In 1765 he returned to France and undertook an eight-month tour of France and Italy, which evidently provided him with the material for A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. In 1767 Sterne met and fell in love with Elizabeth Draper, a young wife of an East India Company official and after her enforced departure to India he began his Journal to Eliza (unpublished). His health rapidly deteriorated and he died in London in 1768. (Ruefully Shandean, but more or less true, story of his dead body is told in the last novel by Malcolm Bradbury To the Hermitage (2000)). Of all eighteenth century novels Tristram Shandy is the one that is freest of insistent logical linearity, the one that makes the most sophisticated attempt to escape from the models of established narrative and its history. It draws on anectodal learning of the scientific prose of the sixteenth century (Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy) and experimental games games of Swift and the Scriblerians but it is an unprecedented, and still unrivalled, formal experiment. Its organization lies in the consciousness of a narrator who fails in the course of the first two volumes even to get himself born. The sketch of the "plot" may be provided but cannot be very helpful. In Volume I Tristram is noted as arriving in the world, but his family and friends are introduced with many learned digressions. Volume II concentrates on the past military experience of the friends of the family, Uncle Toby and Corporal Trim. Tristram' s birth is fully described in Volume III but again after many diversions and asides – at which time the author finds the time to produce his long promised Preface. Volume IV contains father Walter's explanation of reasons why the Shandys are famous for their noses and the account of the misnaming of the infant 'Tristram' instead of the correct Trismegistus. Volume V describes the death of Tristram's brother Bobby, the family response, and the reflections of Corporal Trim on death. Volume VI relates the sad story of Lieutenant Le Fever and his son, includes one of the very popular bedtime discussions between Mr and Mrs Shandy, and finally describes the progress of the enormous model of military earthwork built by Toby and Trim in the garden; and begins the story of Uncle Toby's love affair with the widow Wadman. In Volume VII the narrative returns to Tristram and gives an account of his travels in France. Volume VIII continues the story of complex emotions between Uncle Toby and widow Wadman; corporal Trim attempts (in vain) to tell his story of the King of Bohemia. Volume IX contains a sentimental story of mad Maria and reports the collapse of Toby's love affair. The final episode of the book contains a confused conversation between father Walter and Mrs Shandy about Walter's bull. Set in the Shandy's small parlour and garden, the book is erratically narrated by Tristram and creates a thin line of narrative constantly and flagrantly interrupted by digressions ("digressions ... are the body and soul of reading"), exploiting the relativity of time in human experience by deliberately disordering the logic of the sequences and replacing them by the emphasis of motives and events. Sterne's tendency to parody of the new "novel" form is evident in the absurdity of the development in narrative, deliberately refusing any consistent plot or conclusion. Sterne's famous (and wayward) typography, which includes rows of asterisks, dashes, diagrams, blank pages, various typefaces seem to contribute to an impression of cheerful view of "virtual" game he is playing with his reader. Based upon the intensive studies of Sterne's style the Russian "formalist" school, namely Viktor B. Shklovsky, pointed out (in 1917) that consistent and quality digression i. e. material not strictly relevant to the main theme or plot and its incorporation into the work as well as the ostranenie (making strange) i.e. making fresh, new, strange, different from the familiar and known are the essential qualities of the novel. Sterne "the First Modernist" accomplished the purpose of art – to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived, and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects unfamiliar, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty of length and perception, because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.


One of the literary forms which the eighteenth century brought to perfection is the blending of literature and journalism – the periodical essay – a short essay on some topic of general interest, published as the principal material of a periodical appearing several times a week. The idea was realized in two magazines The Tatler (from April 1709 to January 1711) and The Spectator (from March 1711 to December 1712) published by Richard STEELE (1672 – 1729) a joyfull, warm-hearted, extravagant army ex-Captain (hence "Captain Steele") and his lifelong friend, Joseph ADDISON (1672 – 1719), a quiet, reserved classical scholar, shy and with sometimes an almost forbidding coldness. The Tatler and The Spectator are associated with the very popular institution of eighteenth century London – the coffee-house. Some of them were even bought by a group of habitual frequenters who turned them into private "clubs" (e.g. famous meeting place of Whig intellectuals The Kit-Kat Club). So The Tatler (founded and mostly edited by Steele) related the "Accounts of Galantry, Pleasure and Entertainment ...(from) the White's Chocolate House", poetry from the Will's Coffee-House, foreign and domestic news from the St. James's Coffee-house, learning from The Grecian, and so on. Gradually the magazine adopted a more elevated tone, the evils of duelling and gambling are exposed, all questions of good manners and the ideal of a gentleman are discussed and morally condemned. Steele himself assumes the character borrowed from Swift, talkative and a little pompous Isaac Bickerstaff, uses the marriage of his "sister" as an occasion for treating various aspect of happy married life. Rakish and coquettish manners are exposed by Lady Elizabeth Hasting (using the pen-name of Aspasia). Anecdotes, essays and short stories illustrate the general tone of moral advancement. The Spectator followed the same scheme (now with the constistent participation of Addison) and purported to be published by a small club, icluding Sir Roger de Coverley, who represents the country gentry, rich City merchant, Sir Andrew Freeport, Captain Sentry representing the army, and Will Honeycomb providing gossipping news from London high society. The editor, Mr Spectator, is a man of broad education, of travel and learning, is a permanent observer, who keeps clear of politics, and tries "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality."

If we assume the general trend towards secularization then the periodical essayist contributed greatly to its proliferation. Although the Church remained powerfull, in varied and sophisticated writings of the periodical essayist we can easily find that the literature, reflecting the main interest of the times - how to live properly – is taking over the function fulfilled solely by religious intruction.

The transition of essayist to "occasional" writers (and frequently back or with the detour to drama) is also seen in the constitution of the SCRIBLERUS CLUB (sometimes called The Great Tory Satirists), an association of which Jonathan SWIFT, John ARBUTHNOT, Alexander POPE, and John GAY were members, Earl of Oxford (R.HARLEY) an invited member, and Henry FIELDING an eternal, uninvited candidate. The object of the group was to ridicule "all the false tastes in learning" through publishing, researching, commenting, and propagating the works of fictitious Martinus Scriblerus, the son of an antiquary in Munster, Ireland. John ARBUTHNOT together with Alexander POPE published "the critical edition" of Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus (1714) mocking (in the form of literary burlesque) the various forms of contemporary pedantry. Loosely connected with the general aim of the Scriblerians are the burlesqueing mock-heroic epic The Dunciad by Alexander POPE (1728), The History of John Bull and Swiftian The Art of Political Lying by John ARBUTHNOT (both in 1712), John GAY's parodies The Shepherd's Week (1712) and Three Hours after Marriage (1717), a dramatic burlesque written together with Pope and Arbuthnot. The favourite tone of the Scriblerians is ironic and their favourite intellectual exercise to built up a concrete fiction of an abstract situation. Their wit is in initial conception (mystifying element) and its ingenious development.


The art of novel and its potential as both instructor and entertainer was readily recognized by a growing body of middle-class authors. In 1744 Henry Fielding provided a short Preface to his sister, Sarah FIELDING's (1710 – 1768) novel The Adventures of of David Simple in Search of a Real Friend in which he considers the genre of novel as well established. David Simple and its sequel Volume the Last (1753) show greater interest in feelings, provide more penetrating motives and are generally more analytical. David, after being cheated by his beloved younger brother of his inheritance, sets out on a quest to find a real, honest friend. Everywhere he encounters hypocrisy, selfishness, and dishonesty, Eventually he meets Cynthia, Valentine and Camilla whose destiny is similar to his. The four friends, all of whom have suffered because of their trusting innocence, live together in happy companionship. Having so achieved his emotional fulfilment. David, in Volume the Last, faces financial loss, a devastating decline in all his hopes and finally dies as a victim of human malevolence. The History of the Countess of Dellwyn (1759) traces, somewhat melodramatically, the tragic history of moral corruption of a marriage between an older husband and a young wife. History of Ophelia (1760) relates the adventures of an ingenious young woman confronted with the evils of society. Sarah lived a quiet life near London and belonged to Samuel Richardson's circle, which her novels definitely reflected.

Charlotte LENNOX (1729? – 1804), the daughter of an army officer, attempted after her broken marriage a career as an actress and then turned to writing. Her novels were directed primarily at female readers trying to provide a sort of guides to manners and morals. The Life of Harriot Stuart and Euphemia draws heavily on her American experience (she spent her childhood there), her most complex work The Female Quixote: or the Adventures of Arabella (1752), deals with an aristocratic English woman brought up in isolation on her father's country estate who developed a passion for reading romances and decided to live herself in such a world. After many comic events, Arabella, with her devoted cousin, Mr Granville, gets to London, where her beauty and naivety lead to dreadful confusion, a duel, illness, and almost the death. Eventually Arabella marries patient and sensible Granville. Even here "the godfather" of Lennox's novel is Richardson.

Considering Tobias SMOLLETT (1721 – 1771, born in Dunbartonshire, in Scotland, a Glasgow surgeon's apprentice, ship's doctors during the naval war with Spain, unsuccessful doctor for well-off patients at Chelsea, and from 1748 a professional writer) only as the most ingenious follower of Henry Fielding is a very narrow minded opinion. From his first novel, The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), through pre-Gothic The Adventures of Fedinand Count Fathom (1753) to his masterpiece The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1748) he seems not only to be aware of a broad variety of formal possibilities offered by the new genre but also of the necessity of "large diffused picture, comprehending the characters of life." Smollet's definite fancy in rambling picaresque of Le Sage's Gil Blas does not prevent him from seeing the things as they are without explicit subtones of moral idignance. Frequent hints of distorted mental states of his characters,"a certain oddity of disposition", "the hollow eyed representative of distemper, indigence, and despair" announce another transformation, of the novel leading eventually to great romantic unity linking the individual and the collective, the emotional and the social.

The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) seemingly continues in the tradition of Defoe and Fielding. The hero is a well born and educated Scot suffering from the "selfishness, envy, malice, and base indifference of mankind" not only in England but also in the wider world. Roderick is often agressive, affectionate and sexually inquisitive, he becomes mate to Welsh surgeon, Morgan, and takes part at the siege of Cartagena (1741). After many troubles he returns to England, falls in love with Narcissa, and is carried by smugglers to France, where he finds his uncle Tom Bowling. His friend, Strap, helps him to his fortunes but Roderick after losing all his money in gambling, has to embark as a surgeon again, this time commanded by Tom Bowling, and in the course of the voyage he meets a Spanish gentleman, Don Roderigo, who turns out to be his father. They return to England and Roderick marry Narcissa. The true originality of the novel lies in its inclusion of scenes of modern warfare, in very sensoric experience of horrors of the lower decks of a British man-of-war. Smollett gives his first hand impression of the nasty details of naval combat. The principal attraction of. The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751) lies in the amusing characters that they contain. Peregrine is a scoundrel whose only positive qualities are wit and courage; the book mainly deals with his adventures (many of them of erotic nature) in England and on the Continent. The most interesting is a portrait of Commodore Hawser Trunion, a further (exaggerated) reflection of Smollet's naval experience. His language, habits, and running his house are a definite prelude to Dickensian portrayal mastery. Formally is Smollet's most appraised work, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771) is an ingenious (and partly parodic) mixture of Defoe, Richardson, and Sterne. The book is concerned with a family journey from the estates of Matthew Bramble in Wales, through western England to London, and then northwards to Scotland. The story is told in a series of eighty-two letters, twenty-seven of which are written by the elderly and often sarcastic Bramble himself (the title character does not appear until letter 28, when the family employs him as a servant; eventually it transpires that he is Bramble's illegitimate son). Smollett's epistolary method is far more vivid than that of Richardson's. It allows for digressions, overlaps in the accounts, the use of the technique of realiable, unreliable, or stupid witness, permits various viewpoints. Its topographical exactness and sharp observation of social and geographical particularities (e.g. those of Bath) are definitely under the influence of Defoe's travel books and Sterne's The Sentimental Journey. In 1753 Smollet published The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, a novel dominated by the central figure of Count Fathom, a deliberately created monster "from the purlieus (outskirts) of treachery and fraud" contrasted with noble Count de Melvil and his son Renaldo. Ferdinand, actually a son of a camp-follower of the Marlborough army, fought in the Turkish wars at Petervarad and saved Count Melvil who from then on brings him up as his own son. Then Ferdinand set in Vienna where he met the evil Ratchcali; they moved to London, conquered fashionable society, and organized the trade with fake antiques while seducing women. (One of them, Eleonor¨, is even driven, to Bedlam). After further successes in Bristol he is exposed and put into debtor's prison. Then he betrays his friend, Melvil, who helped him out of jail and tries to seduce his girl, Monimia. He takes up medicine, but his previous scandalous life ruins his reputation. In an attempt to escape he marries a wealthy widow and is imprisoned again. At the end Ferdinand nearly disappears and Smolett relates the misfortunes (with many horrific details) and eventual joys of the young couple of Melvil and Monimia.

Smolett's works are in no way mere imitations of his elder literary masters. If Fielding played a "rehearsal of civilizations" as he saw it, the Smollet's play is of a different nature – it is either manic or desperate. He sees "the ultimate refuge of the individual who feels himself menaced by the pressures of the society and fights to divert his own annihilation and the death of civilization." And that is probably why Smollet's novels open the Romantic period in novel writing.


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