Tobias Smollett BiographyTobias George Smollett (1721-1771), Scottish novelist, was born inDalquhurn, Dumbarton County Scotland. Smollett was born beneath a planetree at Dalquharn House on the family estate of Bon hill in the Vale of Leven,near the village of Renton, Dumbartonshire.
At fourteen Smollett wasapprenticed to a Glasgow doctor. He studied medicine at GlasgowUniversity and moved to London in 1740. He was a ship’s surgeon in theCarragena expedition against the Spanish in the West Indies, and lived inJamaica until 1744 when he returned to London and renewed his earlierattempts to stage a play he had written The Regicide, but still met with nosuccess. He also failed to set up his own medical practice. His first novel, the partly autobiographical Roderick Random(1748), was an immediate success. His best novel, The Expedition ofHumphry Clinker (1771), has become a classic.Order now
It is a story, told in a seriesof letters, about the travels of a family through England and Scotland. Smollett was troubled by lack of money. He spent his last years in poorhealth, and died in Livorno, Italy, on October 21, 1771. Two yearslater, Johnson and Boswell stayed at Cameron House with Smollett’s cousinJames, who was preparing to erect a Tuscan column in Smollett’s memory atRenton. Johnson helped compose the Latin obituary on the plinth, and thecolumn stood in what subsequently became the playground of a school. Some of Tobias Smollett’s work consists of The Tears of Scotland(1746).
Poem on the defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Culloden. TheAdventures of Roderick Random ( 1748 ). Gil Blas. Translation of LeSage’snovel. ( 1749 ). The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle ( 1751 ).
TheAdventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom ( 1753 ). Don Quixote. Translation of Cervantes’ novel. ( 1755).
The Adventures of Sir LancelotGreaves ( 1760 ). Travels through France and Italy ( 1766 ). The Historyand Adventures of an Atom ( 1769 ). The Expedition of HumphreyClinker ( 1771 ). Some critics regard Tobias Smollet as more satirist meaning thata work of literature or art that, by inspiring laughter, contempt, or horror,seeks to correct the follies and abuses it uncovers. I don’t know what thatmeans though.
This is a paragraph from Tobias Smollett’s book The Adventures ofRoderick Random. Roderick Random is the orphaned, unwanted grandson of a severe oldScots magistrate, exposed by his grandfather’s known neglect to the malice ofthe community. His principal enemies are the schoolmaster and the youngheir. It is not long before a deus ex machina appears in the form of a sailoruncle:He was a strongly built man, somewhat bandy-legged, with a necklike that of a bull, and a face which had withstood the most obstinateassaults of the weather. His dress consisted of a soldier’s coat, altered forhim by the ship’s tailor, a striped flannel jacket, a pair of red breechesjapanned with pitch, clean grey worsted stockings, large silver buckles thatcovered theree-fourths of his shoues, a silver laced hat whosecrownoverlooked the brim about an inch and a half, a black bob wig in buckle, acheck shirt, a silk hankerchief, a henger with a brass handle girded on histhigh by a tarnished laced belt, and a good oak plant under his arm.
I picked this paragraph because here Smollett is describing the heroof the story Roderick Random. I believe it is important to have a brief if notfull description of characters, so that you can imagine seeing them maybeeven being there, in your mind, while they are doing what is described in thebook.