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Cadences of Unreason

A Study of Pride and Madness in the Novels of Tobias Smollett


William Adamson

Approaching the works of Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) via his non-fictional writings, this study examines the relationship between pride and madness in Smollett's novels. All of Smollett's protagonists, it is suggested, can be characterized by their fall from one of the most valued faculties of the 18th century: reason. Vanity and pride imply a rejection of reason and lead towards a fall into madness - the total negation of reason. The character's deviations are charted with their accompanying falls until, eventually, they are redeemed and find their niche inevitably outside estalished society.
Illustrations include four prints by William Hogarth.
Contents: Terms of Smollett's characterization - Smollett's anthropology - The tradition of reason - Pride in the 18th century - Pride in Smollett's novels - The moral aim of Smollett's novels - Background to madness in 18th century - Madness in Smollett's novels.