tudor queens series
Search our site
The Heart of Mars by Paul Magrs Read the opening extract of the brand new Paul Magrs book before its publication on 15/03/2018

Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett, Jeremy Lewis, Shaun Regan


Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett, Jeremy Lewis, Shaun Regan

Matthew Bramble, a gout-ridden misanthrope, travels Britain with his nephew, niece, spinster sister and man-servant, the trusty Humphry Clinker. In poor health, Bramble sees the world as one of degeneracy and raucous overcrowding, and will not hesitate to let his companions know his feelings on the matter. Peopled with pimps, drunkards, decadents and con-men, Humphrey Clinker displays Smollett's ferociously pessimistic view of mankind, and his belief that the luxury of eighteenth-century England existence was the enemy of sense and sobriety. Presented in the form of letters from six very different characters, and full of joyful puns and double entendres, Humphrey Clinker is now recognised as a boisterous and observant masterpiece of English satire.Jeremy Lewis's introduction examines why Smollett has become an unjustly neglected figure of English literature, and how the time in which he lived became a crucible for his work. This new edition contains notes, a chronology and suggested reading.

About the Author

TOBIAS SMOLLETT was borin near Dunbarton in Scotland in 1721. He was educated at local schools and then at the University of Glasgow, which he left without a degree. He was apprenticed as a surgeon in the city, but in 1739 went to London. In 1740 he sailed with the fleet to the West Indies as surgeon's mate on HMS Chichester. He was present at the disastrous attack on Cartagena and cisited Jamaica. He settled in London in 1744 and practised -unsuccessfully -as a surgeon. The Adventures of Roderick Random, Smollett's first novel, appeared in 1748. Drawing on his own experiences, the book is a series of adventures depicting the travels of a Scottish hero; its expose of London life foreshadows some of the themes in Humphry Clinker. Smollett's last years were parred by sickness and disappointment. In 1760 he was fined GBP100 and sentenced to three months' imprisonment for a bitter attack on Admiral Knowles (who had commanded the West Indies expedition) in the Critical Review, which with two others he had founded in 1756 and edited until 1762. He then edited ,with little success, The Briton, a weekly periodical supporting the unpopular Scottish Prime Minister, Lord Bute. Ill-health sent him abroad in 1763, and in 1766 he published his entertaining and acerbic Travels in France and Italy, which earned him, from Sterne, the nickname of 'Smelfungus'. He returned for a last visit to Scotland and Bath and then finally left England in 1768, dying aged fifty at Monte Nero, near Leghorn. Humphry Clinker was published in the year of his death, 1771.JEREMY LEWIS worked in publishing for much of his life after leaving Trinity College, Dublin, in 1965, and was a director of Chatto & Windus for ten years. He was Deputy Editor of the London Magazine from 1991 to 1994 and is now Commissining Editor of The Oldie and Editor-at-Large of the Literary Review. He has written two volumes of autobiography, Playing for Time (1987) and Kindred Spirits (HarperCollins 1995), and edited The Vintage Book of Office Life (1998). His biographies of Cyril Connelly and Tobias Smollett were published by Jonathan Cape and Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane is available in Penguin. He is working on a book about the Greene family and the third volume of his memoirs, Grub Street Irregular, was published by HarperCollins in 2008. The Secretary of the R. S. Surtees Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he is married with two daughters and lives near Richmond Park. SHAUN REGAN lectures on eighteenth-century and Romantic literature at Queen's University, Belfast. With Brean Hammond, he is the author of Making the Novel: Fiction and Society in Britain, 1660-1789 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). He has published articles on Laurence Sterne, Francois Rabelais and Scriblerian satire and has essays forthcoming on Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

25th September 2008


Tobias Smollett, Jeremy Lewis, Shaun Regan

More books by Tobias Smollett, Jeremy Lewis, Shaun Regan
Author 'Like for Like'


Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd


496 pages


Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800



I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!


Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch

Lovereading - a community of people passionate about reading and sharing their views. An incomparable website for book lovers.

Helen Clark

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

Lovereading is not only an amazing site, but it's one of my very favourites. It's like visiting a fascinating bookstore, but better.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett

I read new, exciting writers and established authors before publication and there is a great website full of brilliant books and opinions.


My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis