The Adventures of Jonathan Corncob, Loyal American Refugee

written by HimselfGodine, $8.95
Out of the ranks of the great eighteenth-century English picaroons marches an all but forgotten Colonial cousin, whose adventures were first published in London in 1787 and then fell into relative obscurity.The Adventures of Jonathan Corncob was unearthed ten years ago by Noel Perrin, a professor of English at Dartmouth. Despite the book’s subtitle, Perrin believes it to be the creation of a disillusioned officer in the Royal Navy. The hero’s role is that of bumpkin turned cynic, as the anonymous satiric voice behind his chronicle exposes human nature at its nadir, particularly in the characters of the American and British ship captains under whom Jonathan serves.
During the Revolution Jonathan leaves his father’s farm in rural Massachusetts, having unwittingly impregnated Desire Slawbunk in an episode of well-intentioned bundling, and finds himself in Boston. He travels to New York, Rhode Island, and Barbadoes; engages in further amorous misadventures; and escapes from a seemingly endless succession of situations hazardous to his health and well-being.
Though he poses no threat to the heroes of Sterne, Smollett, or Fielding, Jonathan Corncob will provide a few hours’ honest pleasure to anyone who ever succumbed to the bawdy extravagances of his better-known peers. Professor Perrin has supplied an introduction to this new edition and some modest editing; included are twelve drawings by Mark Livingston, who owes and cheerfully acknowledges a debt to William Hogarth.
–M.S.