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Tobias Smollett
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Author
    (March 19, 1721-September 17, 1777)
    Born in Renton, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Novelist and poet
    Wrote the novels ‘The Adventures of Roderick Random’ (1748), ‘The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle’ (1751), and ‘The Expedition of Humphry Clinker’ (1771)
    Wrote the poems ‘The Tears of Scotland,’ ‘Love Elegy,’ ‘Blue-Eyed Anne,’ and ‘Ode to Independence’
    He owned slaves, having acquired them as part of his Jamaican wife’s dowry.
    He frequently resorted to literary hackwork to make ends meet.
    There is debate over whether his translation of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ was actually his work or was patched together from other authors’ translations.
    He was fined £100 and sentenced to three months in jail for libel after insulting Admiral Charles Knowles (1757).
    Laurence Sterne parodied him as ‘Smelfungus’ in ‘A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.’
    Critic William Hazlitt wrote, ‘There is a tone of vulgarity about all his productions.'
    He served as a naval surgeon on HMS Chichester.
    He gave Samuel Johnson the nickname ‘the Great Cham of Literature.’
    His only child, Elizabeth, died at age 15 (1763).
    His novels are read by characters in George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch,’ William Makepeace Thackery’s ‘Vanity Fair,’ and Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield.’
    George Orwell praised him as ‘Scotland’s best novelist.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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