Travels Through France, Italy and Scotland
Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) is best known today as a novelist, whereas in the eighteenth century he was primarily regarded as a historian and critic. In Tobias Smollett in the Enlightenment, Richard J. Jones explores the diversity of Smollett's journalistic and literary writings and establishes connections between Smollett's work and writers of the Scottish Enlightenment. Taking as his focal point Smollett's visit to Nice between 1763 and 1765, and the account he wrote of it in Travels through France and Italy (1766), Jones argues that Smollett's account should be read as a "pocket encyclopedia" in the tradition of Voltaire, rather than as a conventional "travel narrative." Discussing Smollett's engagement with medicine, fine art, the theater, and history, Jones offers a productive juxtaposition of authors, texts, and contexts, presenting Smollett as a writer whose Scottish (and particularly Glaswegian) identity informed his involvement in a wider European Enlightenment.
"Mr. Jones claims to focus on how Travels through France and Italy participates in the Scottish Enlightenment [...] however, the Travels ultimately receives no more, and perhaps less, discussion than Smollett's other works. Far from being a shortcoming, this is a principal strength of the book, which synthesizes Smollett's engagement with the Scottish Enlightenment medical, literary, and historical discourses across the author's extensive and diverse oeuvre, including its medical treatises, criticism, novels, and histories."
-Lee F. Kahan, Indiana University South Bend, The Scriblerian, Spring/Autumn 2015 Vol XLVII No. 2 - XLVIII No.1
"This attractive, clearly written volume will be available for anyone interested in Smollett's multifarious career, and also for those who study 18th century travel writing and Scottish intellectual life."
-J.T. Lynch, CHOICE, May 2012.
"Smollett alone, among any top two-dozen writers of importance to be named in the eighteenth century, lacks a decent bibliography...As Jones is aware, this failure to bring Smollett alive on in the pages of a biography creates special problems...Jones, working back and forth between Travles and what he has discovered about Smollett's life and career sends the discussion in a new direction."
-O M Brack, Jr. Scottish Literary Review 14.2 (2012).
Read a review in Recent Studies in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century here.
Read the University press article here.
About the author:
Richard J. Jones is editor and associate lecturer at The Open University in the United Kingdom.
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