The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
|The Expedition of Humphry Clinker|
|Genre||Novel, Picaresque, Epistolary|
|Publisher||W. Johnson and B. Collins|
|Publication date||17 June 1771|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
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 behaviour 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.
The author's own travels in Scotland, France and Italy helped provide inspiration for the plot.
Matthew Bramble and his family and servants are traveling through England and Scotland. Each member of the family is in search of something different. Bramble visits spas in search of health, his sister Tabitha is in search of a husband, nephew Jery is looking for amusement, niece Lydia is trying to recover from an unfortunate romantic entanglement. The titular character, Humphry Clinker, is an ostler, a stableman at an inn, who does not make his first appearance until about a quarter of the way through the story. He is taken on by Matthew Bramble and his family while they are travelling through England. Letters from various members of the party describe the scenery, adventures and human follies they encounter along their way. After various romantic interludes, Humphry suffers false imprisonment but is rescued and returned to his sweetheart, the maid Winifred Jenkins. Eventually, it is discovered that Humphry is Mr. Bramble's illegitimate son from a relationship with a barmaid during his wilder university days. The book ends in a series of weddings.
- Paperback, Penguin Classics, 414 pages
- Published May 30, 1967 by Penguin Group (first published 1771)
- ISBN 0140430210 (ISBN13: 9780140430219)
- Edition language English
- Original title The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
- Setting United Kingdom
- The Expedition of Humphry Clinker at Project Gutenberg
- The Expedition of Humphry Clinker at http://www.goodreads.com
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