Tobias George Smollett

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smollett, Tobias George


Born March 1721, at Dal-quhurn, Dunbartonshire; died Sept. 17, 1771, in Leghorn. British author.

Smollett studied medicine in Glasgow. From 1740 to 1744 he served as a surgeon on a military expedition to the West Indies. He described the cruel practices of the British Navy in the novel The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748, erroneously attributed to H. Fielding; Russian translation, 1788). In the spirit of B. Mandeville’s radical philosophy, Smollett condemned the knavery flourishing in English society in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751; incomplete Russian translation, 1788).

In Smollett’s novels the main characters, who are rogues, do not function as positive heroes; it is rather secondary figures who fulfill this role. The crisis of enlightenment consciousness found expression in the novels The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom (1753) and The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves (1762), which tend toward preromanticism and senti-mentalism. Smollett’s last novel, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), written in the spirit of sentimentalism, is outstanding among Smollett’s works for its wealth of comic devices, its democratic fervor, the skillful psychological depiction of its characters, and its mastery of the epistolary form. Smollett also wrote poetry, satirical works, and historical studies. He translated works by Cervantes and Voltaire.


The Novels, vols. 1-11. Oxford, 1925-26.
The Letters of Tobias Smollett. Oxford, 1970.
In Russian translation:
Puteshestvie Khamfri Klinkera. Moscow, 1953.
Prikliucheniia Perigrina Piklia. Moscow, 1955.


Elistratova, A. A. Angliiskii roman epokhi Prosveshcheniia. Moscow, 1966.
Knapp, L. M. Tobias Smollett. New York, 1963.
Cordasco, F. Smollett Criticism, 1925-1945: A compilation. Brooklyn, N.Y., 1947.
Cordasco, F. Smollett Criticism, 1770-1924: A Bibliography. Brooklyn, N.Y., 1948.

V. A. KHARITONOV [23–1856–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.