A holiday journey around 18th-century Britain is irresistably sweetIt’s a profound shame that the reputation of Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) seems to be waning. A few generations ago, he was part of the quartet of Great 18th-century Novelists, alongside Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding and Laurence Sterne. George Eliot paid tribute to him in Middlemarch, when Brooke advises 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 postilion’s breeches.” Thackeray, in his English Humorists (overlooking the fact that Smollett was born in Dunbartonshire) wrote that: “The novel of ‘Humphry Clinker’ is, I do think, the most laughable story that has ever been written since the goodly art of novel-writing began”. Robert Burns praised the “incomparable humour” of Smollett; Hazlitt called Humphry Clinker “the most pleasant gossiping novel that ever was written”.The Expedition Of Humphry Clinker is an epistolary novel, in which Matthew Bramble, his nephew Jery Melford, his sister Tabitha, his niece Lydia and Winifred, Tabitha’s maid, all send letters to their friends describing their holiday from …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books