The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, Tobias Smollett's last published novel and most celebrated work, appeared in June 1771, three months before the author's death. A classic in the history of the English novel, it takes the form of a collection of letters written by various members of Mr.Matthew Bramble's family, (for whom Humphry Clinker is a general servant) during their eight months travel in England and Scotland in the 1760s. The wanderings of the Bramble party result in a series of amusing adventures and episodes, unfolding within the main plot in which the eccentric and contentious characters - originals as Bramble's nephew calls them - discover the sources of true happiness. In this work, Smollett realised two long-standing artistic goals - a harmonious fusion of satire and comedy and, through the deliberate intertwining of historical and contrived details, a portrayal of the world as constructed from both fiction and fact. In achieving the latter, Smollett was aided by the novel's form, for the epistolary style of travel books in his day set a precedent for the extensive commentary on incidents, experiences, people, and place in Humphry Clinker and allowed him to relate stories through multiple points of view. This edition of Humphry Clinker includes illustrations by George Cruikshank and Thomas Rowlandson and is the first scholarly edition to feature a comprehensive introduction, exhaustive textual editing, and detailed notes that cite passages from Smollett's nonfictional works and the works of his contemporaries to analyse the mass of allusions and references in the novel.