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SHORTER NOTICES 103 with nature, the book supports its author's conviction that "science is a struggle no less charged with humanistic value than the struggle for political liberty or national expression" (p. vi). T. A. GoUDGE Tobias Smollelt: Doctor of Men and Manners. By LEWIS MANSFIELD KNAPP. Princeton, N.].: Princeton University Press [Toronto: S. J. Reginald Saunders and Company Limited]. 1949. Pp. xiv, 362. $7.50. The legend of Smollett as a peevish malcontent, fostered by his own candid Travels and by Sterne's "Smeifungus," as a coarse and brutal novelist (the character of Roderick Random, the carnage aboard the Thunder, etc.) with no sympathy for his characters (e.g. the history of Miss Williams), has been a long time a-dying. The author of Humphry Clinker has never had the cards stacked in his favour and his rise in public esteem has been slow and arduous. Too often-with all that the adjectives imply- the "learned Dr. Smollett" suffered by being compared with the "inimitable Mr. Fielding." Like Katherine Mansfield's friend who moaned about the "hor-rible " quality of Smollett's realism, critics have hurled uncomplimentary epithets at him, without bothering to find out if he himself might have been different from the people he portrayed. However, in the last twenty-five years Smollett criticism, based on the solid research of a small group made up mainly of Americans, has tried to show the man and the author as he was. In the 1920's, two Yale professors started the ball rolling: Howard S. Buck wrote two penetrating studies on the text of Peregrine Pickle and on Smollelt as a Poet, and E. S. Noyes published the first authoritative edition of Smollett's Letters. Since that time very valuable contributions in book form have been made by George Kahrl (Elmira ), Claude Jones (California), Louis Martz (Yale), F. W. Boege (Queen's College), and Francesco Cordasco (Long Island University), and important articles have been written by A. D. McKillop, Rufus Putney, H. P. Vincent, L. F. Powell, Alice Parker, and others. However , none of these researchers has contributed as much as Professor Knapp to our present knowledge of Smollett: since 1929 he has published some eighteen articles on this author, and now this firstrate biography, containing several new portraits, brings together the results of his own wide research as well as the very latest discoveries of others. His book is an extremely well documented, sober (perhaps 104 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY too sober) perfonnance, which makes obsolete alr other biographies of Smollett, and will be the standard work of reference on him for years to come. Professor Knapp advances nothing but what is based on fact and has been at great pains to reconstruct the life of Smollett in its most minute details. He has drawn on his extensive knowledge of English literary life in the eighteenth century and utilized all available sources in his documentation: contemporary periodicals and memoirs, public records in Scotland, England, and Jamaica, parish rate-books (to detennine the different residences of Smollett in London), etc., and has been able to identify a surprising number of the minor figures with whom Smollett came in contact. However, perhaps because of his very thoroughness, Professor Knapp tends to discuss certain of these peripheral figures at some length, thus occasionally slowing up the text with material whicb might properly have been relegated to the notes-although the notes and references (always carefully done) are numerous enough. However, these are but tiny blemishes, which do not in the least detract from the great value of this indispensable biography. Professor Knapp has gathered an impressive array of facts but, more important still, has shown us at last in a new perspective a Smollett who was not only a navy surgeon, physician, novelist, critic, historian , and political writer, but over and above all a typical eighteenthcentury gentleman, eminently worthy to have associated with the greatest men of letters of his time. Smollett, who called Samuel Johnson the great Cham of literature, could rightfully have claimed that he himself was, briefly, the great Cham's precursor. There is a kind of hesitation that paralyses all literary students embarking on a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 103-104
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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