Tobias Smollett

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Tobias Smollett, around 1770

Tobias George Smollett (born March 19, 1721 in Dalquhurn , West Dunbartonshire , Scotland , † September 17, 1771 in Livorno , Italy ) was a Scottish doctor and writer .


Smollett was the son of a judge and landowner and was tutored by private tutors. In the 1730s he began to study medicine at Marischal College ( University of Glasgow ), but did not receive a formal degree in this subject. After a brief activity as assistant to a surgeon in Glasgow, Smollett moved to London in 1739 to try his luck as a playwright.

However, he was not particularly successful and traveled as a ship's doctor in 1740, initially on the HMS Chichester, to Jamaica , where he settled for several years. On his return he opened a doctor's office in London in 1747 and married a wealthy Jamaican heiress, Anne Nancy Lascelles (1721–1791). He was on friendly terms with the Scottish doctor and obstetrician William Smellie .

His first publication was a poem about the Battle of Culloden , but it was his Picaresque novel Roderick Random , which he had written based on the model of Gil Blas by Alain-René Lesage , that made him famous in 1748. Autobiographical elements were developed into a picaresque novel with comedy and the art of storytelling . In the following years Smollett collected material in France for his next novel, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle , which appeared in 1751 and was also a great success. In 1752 , Smollett was drawn into the Paper War of 1752–1753 by Henry Fielding and John Hill . 1753 followed Ferdinand Count Fathom , ( Count Ferdinand Fathom ), who in some ways already anticipated the later horror novel . Smollett was now considered a leading literary figure, associated with David Garrick , Oliver Goldsmith , Samuel Johnson and Laurence Sterne .

In the last decade of his life, Smollett wrote "A Complete History of England" (1750) and "A Continuation of the Complete History, 5 Vol., Ldn., Baldwin 1760-65 (ca. 2500 Sn., 51 Kpf.u..10 Gest.u. Gef.Ktn.), Which he considered to be his real main work, also the novel Sir Launcelot Greaves (1760) and the travel reports Travels through France and Italy (1766), his last novel Humphry Clinker , which appeared in the year of his death, is considered by many readers to be his most successful work: elements of the picaresque novel, the letter novel and the travelogue have been artfully combined to form a unit.

For health reasons, Smollett spent the last years of his life in Italy, where he died in 1771.

Works (selection)

The adventures of Roderick Random

  • Events of the Roderick Random, translated by Johann Georg Büsch . Hamburg 1755. 2 volumes.
  • Roderich Random , translated by Wilhelm Christhelf Sigmund Mylius .
    • Himburg, Berlin 1790. 2 volumes.
    • Mannheim 1802. 4 volumes.
    • (The library of Thelem Abbey 13-14). Müller, Munich / Leipzig 1914. 2 volumes.
    • The adventures of Roderick Random after translation by W. Chr. S. Mylius.
      • 1st edition. Insel, Leipzig 1965. 2nd edition 1969. 643 pages.
      • Insel, Leipzig 1982. 592 pages.
      • Beck, Munich 1982. 592 pages.
    • The adventures of Roderich Random. Linguistic renewed and supplemented translation. 1st edition. New Life, Berlin 1952, 707 pages. 2nd edition 1954, 707 pages. 3rd edition 1978, 713 pages.
  • Adventure Roderick Random’s (= classic library of the older English novelists 7-10). Westermann, Braunschweig 1839. 4 volumes.
  • The Roderick Random Adventures. Moewig, Munich 1977. 395 pages.

Peregrine Pickle and his adventures

  • Incidents of the Peregrine Pimple. 4 volumes.
    • Gleditsch, Leipzig 1753.
    • Heineck, Leipzig; Faber, Copenhagen 1769.
  • Peregrine Pickle, translated by Wilhelm Christhelf Siegmund Mylius.
    • 1st edition. Himburg, Berlin 1785, 2nd edition 1789. 4 volumes.
    • (= The books of Thelem Abbey 15–16). 1st edition. Müller, Munich / Berlin 1914; 2nd edition 1917. 2 volumes.
  • Peregrine Pickle, translated by WH von Vogt (= collection of the most excellent humorous and comic novels from abroad in newer, contemporary arrangements 1–5). 5 volumes. Ferdinand Rubach, Magdeburg 1827 (volumes 1 and 2); Hofbuchdruckerei, Altenburg 1828 (volumes 3 to 5).
  • Peregrin Pickle's Adventure, Rides and Schwänke, translated by Georg Nikolaus Bärmann (= Classical Library of the older English novelists 14-19). Westermann, Braunschweig 1840. 6 volumes.
  • Peregrin Pickle's Adventures, Rides and Schwänke after the translation by GN Bärmann (= Collection Spemann, 169–171). W. Spemann, Stuttgart [1884].
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, broadcast by Hans Matter .
    • Book guild Gutenberg, Zurich 1955. 684 pages.
    • Winkler, Munich 1966. 861 pages.
    • Book Club Ex Libris, Zurich 1967. 864 pages.
    • Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1967 and 1989. 861 pages.
    • Rencontre, Lausanne [1968]. 2 volumes.
  • The adventures of Peregrine Pickle, translated by Werner Kautz . Insel, Leipzig 1972. 2 volumes.

The adventures of Ferdinand Fathom

  • Events of Ferdinand Count of Fathom . Rothe, Copenhagen 1770–1771. 2 volumes.
  • Count Ferdinand Fathom, translated by Friedrich von Oertel .
    • Beygang and Ackermann, Leipzig / Sorau 1799.
    • Mannheim 1803. 2 volumes.

The adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves

  • Adventure of the knight Launcelot Greaves . Rothe, Copenhagen 1772.

Travels through France and Italy

  • Travel through France and Italy or collected news of customs and traditions etc. Leipzig 1767.

The expedition of Humphry Clinker

  • Humphry Klinkers trip. translated by Johann Joachim Christoph Bode . 1st edition. Weidemann and Reich, Leipzig 1772, 3 volumes. 2nd edition 1775, 3rd edition 1785.
  • Humphry Clinker's Travels, translated by Heinrich Döring (= Classical Library of the older English novelists 11–13). Westermann, Braunschweig 1839. 3 volumes.
  • Humphry Clinker's memorable journey, translated by Walter Batt (= Dieterich Collection 212). 1st edition. Dieterich, Leipzig 1959; 2nd edition 1971. 558 pages.
  • Humphry Clinker's Journey, translated by Peter Staengle . Manesse, Zurich 1996, 719 pages.


Web links

Wikisource: Tobias Smollett  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Tobias Smollett  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. P. Harper: Tobias Smollett and the Practice of Medicine. In: The Yale journal of biology and medicine. Volume 2, Number 6, July 1930, pp. 408-416, PMID 21433464 , PMC 2606287 (free full text).
  2. biography. ( Memento of the original from June 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (English) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. PM Dunn: Dr William Smellie (1697-1763), the master of British midwifery. In: Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and neonatal edition. Volume 72, Number 1, January 1995, pp. F77-F78, PMID 7743291 , PMC 2528415 (free full text).