Like young Dickens himself, David Copperfield in the 1849-50 novel loved reading Smollett's picaresque novels The Adventures of Roderick Random and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, as well as the epistolary novel The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. These were among the many eighteenth-century novels which young Dickens discovered in his father's library, made up of cheap reprints of the great standard works of fiction.
Tobias Smollett is one of sixteen Scots prose writers and poets represented on the lower section of the Scott Monument in Princes Street, Edinburgh. He appears on the far left side of the east face. George Orwell later pronounced him "Scotland's best novelist." Other well-known writers who have made specific references to Smollett's novels in their works include George Eliot, whose Mr. Brooke in Middlemarch remarks to the Reverend Mr. Casaubon, "Or get Dorothea to read you light things, Smollett — Roderick Random, Humphry Clinker. They are a little broad, but she may read anything now she's married, you know. I remember they made me laugh uncommonly — there's a droll bit about a postilion's breeches" — a scene in Humphry Clinker. W. M. Thackeray's Becky Sharp and Rose Crawley in Vanity Fair read the same novel: "Once, when Mr. Crawley asked what the young people were reading, the governess replied "Smollett." "Oh, Smollett," said Mr. Crawley, quite satisfied. "His history is more dull, but by no means so dangerous as that of Mr. Hume. It is history you are reading?" "Yes," said Miss Rose; without, however, adding that it was the History of Mr. Humphry Clinker.
Bentley, Nicholas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. Toronto, New York, and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.
Gotlieb, Evan (ed.). "A Chronology." Tobias Smollett's The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Norton Critical Editions. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994. Pp. 549-50.
Smollett, Tobias. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. Volume I of Roscoe's Novelist's Library. London: Printed by A. J. Valpy for James Cochrane & Company and J. Andrews, 1831.
Smollett, Tobias. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Norton Critical Editions. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994.
Last modified 10 May 2018