Tobias Smollett: The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

(1228 words)

Tobias Smollett's third novel, The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom followed The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), which between them had established the writer's reputation as a leading exponent of the ‘new species of writing' – the novel.

Despite the similarity suggested by the repetition of ‘Adventures' in the title, Fathom marks yet a new departure in Smollett's fiction, taking as its central character a low-born, wholly unsympathetic and even demonic figure.

Ferdinand de Fadom, to give him his earliest name, is no count but the illegitimate son of a camp-follower of Marlborough's army in the War of the Spanish Succession. …

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Ross, Ian Campbell. "The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 September 2004
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]