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|Born||Tobias George Smollett|
19 March 1721
Dalquhurn (now part of Renton, Scotland)
|Died||17 September 1771 50) (aged|
Livorno, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, now Italy
|Occupation||Novelist, playwright and surgeon|
|Alma mater|| University of Glasgow |
University of Edinburgh
University of Aberdeen
Tobias George Smollett (baptised 19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish novelist, surgeon, critic and playwright.He was best known for picaresque novels such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751) and The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), which influenced later novelists, including Charles Dickens. His novels were liberally altered by contemporary printers; an authoritative edition of each was edited by Dr O. M. Brack Jr and others.
Smollett was born at Dalquhurn, now part of Renton in present-day West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, and baptised on 19 March 1721 (his birth date is estimated as 3 days previously).He was the fourth son of Archibald Smollett of Bonhill, a judge and landowner, laird of Bonhill, living at Dalquhurn on the River Leven, who died about 1726, when Smollett was just five years old. His mother Barbara Smollett née Cunningham brought the family up there, until she died about 1766. He had a brother, Captain James Smollett, and a sister, Jean Smollett, who married Alexander Telfair of Symington, Ayrshire. Jean succeeded to Bonhill after the death of her cousin-german, Mr Commissary Smollett, and resumed her maiden name of Smollett in 1780. They lived in St John Street off Canongate, Edinburgh, and had a son who was in the military.
Smollett attended Dumbarton Grammar School and then was educated at the University of Glasgow, where he studied medicine and eventually qualified as a surgeon. [ citation needed ] Others state that his career in medicine came second to his literary ambitions at the age of 18, and it was not until 1750, that Smollett was granted his MD degree at the University of Aberdeen.[ citation needed ]Some biographers assert that he then proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, but left without earning a degree.
In 1739 he went to London having written a play The Regicide, about the murder of King James I of Scotland. Unsuccessful at getting this on stage, he obtained a commission as a naval surgeon on HMS Chichester and travelled to Jamaica, where he settled down for several years. In 1742 he served as a surgeon during the disastrous campaign to capture Cartagena. These experiences were later included in the narrative of his novels.
He married a wealthy Jamaican heiress, Anne "Nancy" Lascelles (1721–1791). She was a daughter of William Lascelles, but was unable to access her inheritance as it was invested in land and slaves. On their return to Britain, at the end of his Navy commission, Smollett established a practice in Downing Street but his wife did not join him until 1747;they had a daughter Elizabeth, who died aged 15 years about 1762. His two native languages were English and Scots. He translated famous works of the Enlightenment from other European languages.
Smollett's first published work in 1746was a poem about the Battle of Culloden entitled "The Tears of Scotland". However, it was The Adventures of Roderick Random , a semi-autobiogaphical story of a 'north Britain on the make' which made his name. His poetry was described as "delicate, sweet and murmurs as a stream". The Adventures of Roderick Random was modelled on Le Sage's Gil Blas and despite its scandalous content covering 'snobbery, prostitution, debt and hinting at homosexuality', it was published in 1748. After that, Smollett finally had his tragedy The Regicide published, although it was never performed.
In 1750, he travelled to France, where he obtained material for his second novel, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle , another success. Having lived for a brief time in Bath, he returned to London and published The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom in 1753, but this did not sell well and he went into debt. His novels were published by the well-known London bookseller Andrew Millar.Smollett became considered as a 'man of letters' and associated with such figures as David Garrick, Laurence Sterne, Oliver Goldsmith, and Samuel Johnson, whom he famously nicknamed "that Great Cham of literature".
In 1755 he published an English translation of Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote , which he revised in 1761. In 1756, he became briefly editor of the 58-volume Universal History, and editor of The Critical Review, from which later he had a successful libel case brought against him by Admiral Sir Charles Knowles, and a three-month prison sentence, and fine of £100.
Smollett then began what he regarded as his major work, A Complete History of England (1757–1765) which helped recoup his finances,along with profits from his only performed play, a farce, The Reprisal of the Tars of Old England. After his imprisonment, he used the experience in producing another novel, The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves (1760).
In 1763, Smollett was ill, perhaps with tuberculosis, and suffered the loss of his only child at the age of 15. He gave up his editorships and, with his wife Nancy, and relocated to Continental Europe, which led to the publication of Travels Through France and Italy (1766).He also published The History and Adventures of an Atom (1769), which gave his opinion of British politics during the Seven Years' War in the guise of a tale from ancient Japan. In 1768, the year he moved to Italy, Smollett entrusted Robert Cunninghame Graham of Gartmore with selling off the slaves he still owned in Jamaica.
A further visit to Scotland helped to inspire his last novel, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), published in the year of his death. He had for some time been suffering from an intestinal disorder. Having sought a cure at Bath,[ citation needed ] he retired to Italy, where he died in September 1771 and was buried in the Old English Cemetery, Livorno.
There is a monument to his memory beside Renton Primary School, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, on which there is a Latin inscription. The area around the monument was improved in 2002, with an explanatory plaque. After his death in Italy in 1771, his cousin Jane Smollett had the Renton monument built in 1774. It comprises a tall Tuscan column topped by an urn. On the plinth is a Latin inscription written by Professor George Stuart of Edinburgh, John Ramsay of Ochtertyre and Dr Samuel Johnson. It is a category A listed building.
There is also a plaque at his temporary residence in Edinburgh, just off the Royal Mile at the head of St John's Street, where his wife lived after his death until at least 1785.This states that he resided there in the house of his sister, Mrs. Telfer, for the summer of 1766. A second plaque (dating the building at 1758, making it relatively new at that time) states that he "stayed here occasionally," implying more than one visit.
Smollett is one of the 16 Scottish writers and poets depicted on the lower section of the Scott Monument in Princes Street, Edinburgh. He appears on the far left side of the east face.There are streets named after him in Nice, France and in Livorno, Italy, where he is buried.
Laurence Sterne, in his A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy , refers to Smollett under the nickname of Smelfungus, due to the snarling abuse Smollett heaped on the institutions and customs of the countries he visited and described in his Travels Through France and Italy .
Mr Brooke in George Eliot's Middlemarch says to Mr Casaubon: "Or get Dorothea to read you light things, Smollett – Roderick Random,Humphry Clinker. They are a little broad, but she may read anything now she's married, you know. I remember they made me laugh uncommonly – there's a droll bit about a postillion's breeches."
In W. M. Thackeray's novel Vanity Fair , Rebecca Sharp and Miss Rose Crawley read Humphry Clinker: "Once, when Mr. Crawley asked what the young people were reading, the governess replied 'Smollett'. 'Oh, Smollett,' said Mr. Crawley, quite satisfied. 'His history is more dull, but by no means so dangerous as that of Mr. Hume. It is history you are reading?' 'Yes,' said Miss Rose; without, however, adding that it was the history of Mr. Humphry Clinker."
Charles Dickens's David Copperfield mentions that his young protagonist counted Smollett's works among his favourites as a child.
John Bellairs referenced Smollett's works in his Johnny Dixon series, where Professor Roderick Random Childermass reveals that his late father Marcus, an English professor, had named all his sons after characters in Smollett's works: Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphry Clinker, and even "Ferdinand Count Fathom", who usually signed his name F. C. F. Childermass.
George Orwell praised him as "Scotland's best novelist".
In Hugh Walpole's fifth novel Fortitude, the protagonist Peter refers to Peregrine Pickle as a text that inspired him to document his own memoirs.
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker was adapted for radio in three one-hour episodes in August 2008. It was dramatised by Yvonne Antrobus and starred Stuart McLoughlin as Clinker and Nigel Anthony as Matthew Bramble.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1771.
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker was the last of the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett, published in London on 17 June 1771, and is considered by many to be his best and funniest work. It is an epistolary novel, presented in the form of letters written by six characters: Matthew Bramble, a Welsh Squire; his sister Tabitha; their niece Lydia and nephew Jeremy Melford; Tabitha's maid Winifred Jenkins; and Lydia's suitor Wilson.
The Vale of Leven is an area of West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, in the valley of the River Leven. Historically, it was part of The Lennox, the name of which derives from the Gaelic term Leamhnach, meaning field of the Leven. Leamnha is thought to mean elm-water.
Tongue-in-cheek is an idiom that describes a humorous or sarcastic statement expressed in a serious manner.
The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle is a picaresque novel by the Scottish author Tobias Smollett, first published in 1751 and revised and published again in 1758. It tells the story of an egotistical man who experiences luck and misfortunes in the height of 18th-century European society.
The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves, the fourth novel by Tobias Smollett, was published in 1760. The novel, Smollett's shortest, was published in serial style, starting with the first issue of the monthly paper The British Magazine, in January 1760, and ending with the magazine's December 1761 issue. The first bound book edition was published in 1762.
Augustan prose is somewhat ill-defined, as the definition of "Augustan" relies primarily upon changes in taste in poetry. However, the general time represented by Augustan literature saw a rise in prose writing as high literature. The essay, satire, and dialogue thrived in the age, and the English novel was truly begun as a serious art form. At the outset of the Augustan age, essays were still primarily imitative, novels were few and still dominated by the Romance, and prose was a rarely used format for satire, but, by the end of the period, the English essay was a fully formed periodical feature, novels surpassed drama as entertainment and as an outlet for serious authors, and prose was serving every conceivable function in public discourse. It is the age that most provides the transition from a court-centered and poetic literature to a more democratic, decentralized literary world of prose.
Renton is a village in West Dunbartonshire, in the west Central Lowlands of Scotland. In the 2001 National Census it had a population of 2,138.
The Adventures of Roderick Random is a picaresque novel by Tobias Smollett, first published in 1748. It is partially based on Smollett's experience as a naval-surgeon's mate in the Royal Navy, especially during the Battle of Cartagena de Indias in 1741. In the preface, Smollett acknowledges the connections of his novel to the two satirical picaresque works he translated into English: Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605–15) and Alain-René Lesage's Gil Blas (1715–47)
Literature of the 18th century refers to world literature produced during the years 1700–1799.
Events from the year 1771 in Great Britain.
The Adventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom is a novel by Tobias Smollett first published in 1753. It was Smollett's third novel and met with less success than his two previous more picaresque tales. The central character is a villainous dandy who cheats, swindles and philanders his way across Europe and England with little concern for the law or the welfare of others. He is the son of an equally disreputable mother, and Smollett himself comments that "Fathom justifies the proverb, 'What's bred in the bone will never come out of the flesh". Sir Walter Scott commented that the novel paints a "complete picture of human depravity"
George Sebastian Rousseau is an American cultural historian resident in the United Kingdom.
Matthew Bramble may refer to:
Thomas Cadell (1742–1802), often referred to as Thomas Cadell the elder, was a successful 18th-century English bookseller who published works by some of the most famous writers of the 18th century.
James G. Basker is an American scholar, writer, and educational leader. He is president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute and Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History at Barnard College, Columbia University.
The novel in Scotland includes all long prose fiction published in Scotland and by Scottish authors since the development of the literary format in the eighteenth century. The novel was soon a major element of Scottish literary and critical life. Tobias Smollett's picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle mean that he is often seen as Scotland's first novelist. Other Scots who contributed to the development of the novel in the eighteenth century include Henry Mackenzie and John Moore.
Scottish literature in the eighteenth century is literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers in the eighteenth century. It includes literature written in English, Scottish Gaelic and Scots, in forms including poetry, drama and novels. After the Union in 1707 Scottish literature developed a distinct national identity. Allan Ramsay led a "vernacular revival", the trend for pastoral poetry and developed the Habbie stanza. He was part of a community of poets working in Scots and English who included William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, Robert Crawford, Alexander Ross, William Hamilton of Bangour, Alison Rutherford Cockburn, and James Thomson. The eighteenth century was also a period of innovation in Gaelic vernacular poetry. Major figures included Rob Donn Mackay, Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir, Uillean Ross and Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, who helped inspire a new form of nature poetry. James Macpherson was the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation, claiming to have found poetry written by Ossian. Robert Burns is widely regarded as the national poet.
Events from the year 1751 in Scotland.
Events from the year 1771 in Scotland.