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Smollett, Tobias

adventures matthew london bramble

(British, 1721–71)

Born near Dunbarton, Smollett studied medicine in Glasgow before moving to London, where he practised as a surgeon. He is among the great novelists of the eighteenth century. The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) is a good introduction to his fiction; the novel's energetic action sees the young Scot winning his beloved's hand after trials at sea, in the French army, and in London, where he falls victim to trickery and dissipation. The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), a robust satire on manners and morals, narrates its aimless hero's career of debauchery and wild practical jokes, which ends when he comes to his senses in jail. Smollett's masterpiece The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771) consists of letters from five members of Matthew Bramble's party travelling from Wales to Scotland. The upright Humphry, their postilion, is revealed as Matthew Bramble's son, and the novel ends with the celebration of four marriages.

Henry Fielding, Charles Dickens  DH

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