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Tobias George Smollett (1721-1771)



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Tobias George Smollett (1721-1771)

born in Scotland, physician; tragedy, The Regicide failed (1739); worked on a man-of-war; back to London

1748: The Adventures of Roderick Random


  • picaresque novel but based on Le Sage’s Gil Blas; not a romance; aim to ”arouse the generous indignation of the reader” (”Preface”) – Swiftian satirical tone!

  • autobiographical episodes with London as ”the devil’s residence” in the background; characters exaggerated caricatures (Fielding: ”monsters, not men”)


The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751); The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom (1752)
The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (1771)

  • story is told in letters written by people differ in temperament, age, social position (eg. older, younger generation, servants) – comic effect

  • Matthew Bramble and his family members travelling north, later a practical, good-hearted and faithful servant, Humphrey Clinker joins them – turns out to be Bramble’s illegitimate son

  • brilliant story-telling but with the signs of improvization

  • his pessimism was more of a diagnostic and descriptive nature, not systematic solution to systematically understood social problems (Fielding)

+ travel-book (Travels in France and Italy, 1766); historical (History of England, 1765); The Critical Review






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