Smollett, Tobias (George)
(baptized March 19, 1721, Cardross, Dumbartonshire, Scot.died Sept. 17, 1771, near Livorno, Tuscany) Scottish satirical novelist. Throughout his life Smollett combined the roles of medical man and writer. He is best known for his novels, including the picaresque novels Roderick Random (1748), a graphic account of British naval life, and Peregrine Pickle (1751), a comic, savage portrayal of 18th-century society. In an active publishing career, he translated, wrote a Complete History of England (1757–58), edited periodicals, including The Critical Review, and compiled a 58-volume Universal History. In the mid-1760s, seriously ill with tuberculosis, he retired to France. In 1766 he published the irascible Travels Through France and Italy, his one nonfiction work that is still read. His finest work, Humphry Clinker (1771), is a humorous epistolary novel.
Smollett, detail of an oil painting by an unknown artist, about 1770; in the National Portrait
—Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London
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