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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett
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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker was the last of the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett, and is considered by many to be his best and funniest work.

Published in London on 17 June 1771, it is an epistolary novel, presented in the form of letters written by six different characters: Matthew Bramble, a Welsh Squire; his sister Tabitha; their niece and nephew, Jery and Lydia Melford; Tabitha’s maid Winifred Jenkins; and Lydia’s suitor, Wilson.

Much of the comedy arises from differences in the descriptions of the same events by different participants. Attributions of motives and descriptions of behavior show wild variation and reveal much about the character of the teller. The setting, amidst the high-society spa towns and seaside resorts of the 18th century provides his characters with many opportunities for satirical observations on English life and manners.

First Page:

Scanned in by Martin Adamson martin@grassmarket.freeserve.co.uk Proofing by Andreas Philipp There are many spelling variants

THE EXPEDITION OF HUMPHRY CLINKER

by TOBIAS SMOLLETT

To Mr HENRY DAVIS, Bookseller, in London.

ABERGAVENNY, Aug. 4.

RESPECTED SIR,

I have received your esteemed favour of the 13th ultimo, whereby it appeareth, that you have perused those same Letters, the which were delivered unto you by my friend, the reverend Mr Hugo Behn; and I am pleased to find you think they may be printed with a good prospect of success; in as much as the objections you mention, I humbly conceive, are such as may be redargued, if not entirely removed And, first, in the first place, as touching what prosecutions may arise from printing the private correspondence of persons still living, give me leave, with all due submission, to observe, that the Letters in question were not written and sent under the seal of secrecy; that they have no tendency to the mala fama, or prejudice of any person whatsoever; but rather to the information and edification of mankind: so that it becometh a sort of duty to promulgate them in usum publicum... Continue reading book >>


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