Press Release: The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

Tobias Smollett

Illustrated by Derrick Harris
Introduced by John Sutherland

‘The most laughable story that has ever been written since the goodly art of novel-writing began.’
william makepeace thackeray

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker is one of the great comic novels of the 18th century, the outstanding masterpiece of Tobias Smollett (1721–71), a prolific journalist, historian, editor and translator, whose groundbreaking fictional creations helped shape the modern novel.

Smollett’s text is perfectly matched by Derrick Harris’s dynamic woodcuts that evoke 18th-century popular prints and add a witty, modern edge. Thisedition also includes an informative introduction by John Sutherland celebrating Smollett’s distinctive talent, and a map that allows us to trace the route of this extraordinary fictional ‘expedition’.

Written in Italy during Smollett’s last illness, and published just months before his death from overwork,Humphry Clinker gives a riotous account of the misadventures of Matthew Bramble, a gout-ridden hypochondriac, as he undertakes a misguided sightseeing tour of England and Scotland, accompanied by his extended family (his sister, a spinster on the prowl for eligible men; his nephew, a high-spirited Oxford graduate; his love-sick niece; and their simple-minded maid) and the titular hero, Humphry Clinker, his accident-prone manservant. This ‘assemblage of originals’ set the stage for a bizarre period version of the disastrous family road-trip.

Told entirely through the gossipy letters that the characters write along the way,The Expedition of Humphry Clinker conjures up in vivid detail the sights, sounds – and smells – of the Georgian era, blending satirical portraits of recognisable historical figures and biting social commentary with surprisingly modern concerns about battery hens, artificial white bread, and the question of Scottish independence. Humphry Clinker remains as fresh and entertaining today as when it first appeared nearly 250 years ago.

Product information

Bound in printed and blocked cloth. Set in Columbus. 432 pages. Frontispiece, 10 two-colour illustrations and one map.
Printed slipcase. 9˝ x 5¾˝.

UK £34.95 US $51.95 Can $69.95 Aus $69.95


For media enquiries please contact

UK & ROW Sandie Maylor, Cherish PR 020 3626 0282,

US & Canada Cathleen P. Williamson (617) 435-5505,