By John Peck (auth.)
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Additional resources for Maritime Fiction: Sailors and the Sea in British and American Novels, 1719–1917
It is as if the body can only take so much before it hits back. Noting that the vision in Roderick Random is ‘so dark and dreary that it borders on the cannibalistic’, G. S. 45 It is an astute comment, but possibly underestimates the contemporary significance of Smollett’s work. 46 The specific grievances were over pay, provisions and leave, but the more general impression that comes across is that the simmering resentment of seamen eventually proved explosive. The sailors were hitting back. Where there are abuses there have to be changes, and improvements followed the Sea Stories 27 mutiny, but what we might also note is a reputation for fairness associated with Collingwood and Nelson, the two principal naval commanders of the era.
The novel employs military imagery for Henry’s assault on Mrs Rushworth: ‘subdue’, ‘began the attack’, ‘triumphing over’, ‘power’, ‘no withdrawing’ (p. 385) The problem is that the martial has been trivialized into the personal. As against this, Fanny is fearful when William, who has actually participated in military action, announces that he intends to ride with the local hunt. He assures Fanny that his experiences around the 42 Maritime Fiction world make him quite ‘equal to the management of a high-fed hunter in an English fox-chase’ (p.
William is a young man working for his success. If the Admiral and Henry represent the old order, William represents the new. This is nicely conveyed in one profound difference between Henry and William. The novel employs military imagery for Henry’s assault on Mrs Rushworth: ‘subdue’, ‘began the attack’, ‘triumphing over’, ‘power’, ‘no withdrawing’ (p. 385) The problem is that the martial has been trivialized into the personal. As against this, Fanny is fearful when William, who has actually participated in military action, announces that he intends to ride with the local hunt.