Tobias Smollett

Tobias George Smollett was born in Dalquhurn, now part of Renton, Scotland, to a prosperous family and educated at the University of Glasgow, where he studied to be a physician. Later he joined the British Royal Navy as a surgeon's mate. He was present at the disastrous battle of Cartagena, in 1741, against the Spanish. He married a British woman Anne Lascelles, in Jamaica, 1747,and returned to England. In London, as a writer, he became successful. ''The Adventures of Roderick Random'' (1748), a picaresque novel -like most of his books- made him a well known author. It was followed by ''The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle'' in 1751. But the failure of ''The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom'' (1753) caused financial difficulties for him. Publishing ''The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves'' (1762) didn't help. Writing poems, plays, travel and history books, essays, satires, doing translations and even becoming a literary critic and magazine editor, Dr. Smollett struggled all his short life against poverty, he traveled to Italy, to regain his health, but died of tuberculosis near Livorno, in 1771. Ironically finishing his masterpiece, ''The Expedition of Humphry Clinker'', a few months before his demise. An obscure author today, though Charles Dickens was a great admirer of Tobias Smollett, and even visiting his gravesite. Renton takes its name after Smollett's sister Jane's, daughter-in-law, Cecilia Renton, after whom the modern sandstone 'model' village was named in 1762. Dr.Smollett's unmarried daughter and only child Elizabeth , died at 15, April, 1763.


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