The Adventures of Roderick Random
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The Adventures of Roderick Random is a novel by Tobias Smollett. It is a picaresque novel that is also a satire of other picaresque novels of the day.
The novel tells the life story (in the first person) of Roderick "Rory" Random, who was born to a nobleman and a lower-class woman and is thus shunned by his father's family. His mother dies soon after his birth and his father is driven mad with grief. After a few years of resentfully paying for Roderick's education, his grandfather finally casts him out after repeated negative reports from Roderick's abusive tutor.
Roderick ends up finding his maternal uncle, Tom Bowling, a sailor who attempts to support Roderick as best as he can between voyages.
Roderick's companion through most of the story is Hugh Strap, a simple-hearted barber's apprentice and former schoolmate of Roderick's. The two end up serving twice on British ships, once on a privateer and once on a warship. Roderick spends much of the novel trying to marry a wealthy woman so that he can live comfortably, and to that end he poses as a nobleman several times, including once while he is in France.
Roderick's unattainable love interest is Narcissa, whose squire brother refuses to consent to a match and ends up holding Narcissa as a near-prisoner to keep her from marrying Random.
- The book on Project Gutenberg
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopaedia.