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Travels through France and Italy

T. Smollett

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .France.

To judge from appearance, the people of Boulogne are descended from the Flemings, who formerly possessed this country; for, a great many of the present inhabitants have fine skins, fair hair, and florid complexions; very different from the natives of France in general, who are distinguished by black hair, brown skins, and swarthy faces. The people of the Boulonnois enjoy some extraordinary privileges, and, in particular, are exempted from the gabelle or duties upon salt: how they deserved this mark of favour, I do not know; but they seem to have a spirit of independence among them, are very ferocious, and much addicted to revenge. Many barbarous murders are committed, both in the town and country; and the peasants, from motives of envy and resentment, frequently set their neighbours' houses on fire. Several instances of this kind have happened in the course of the last year. The interruption which is given, in arbitrary governments, to the administra. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Every one ought to read Smollett at least once; those who are hooked should read him like a tonic on a regular basis. His hilarity is matchless, observations are acute, and complaints are marvelous. Anyone who has spent any length of time in Italy knows that Smollett is right!

Smollett's travel journal - written in epistolary form to an imaginary acquaintance back in England - is like a series of abominably bad Yelp reviews. One auberge after another is the dirtiest, most disgusting lodging he has ever seen or stayed at, until the next auberge, which is also the worst....more

Epistolary travelogue by eighteenth century surgeon, humorous novelist and outspoken art historian who was praised by Orwell and admired (see David Copperfield) and imitated by Dickens. Smollett was maligned by rivals in his lifetime and has taken more than two centuries to become appreciated .

When it comes to the arts and “Frenchified Cuisine”, Smollett was undoubtedly a philistine, and he was also a curmudgeon par excellence. Fortunately, he was also a good writer with wit, an eye for detail, and dramatic incident too.

We join Tobias Smollett, already a famous novelist, and his wife a...more

Such drivel!!
I don't mind Smollett's letter, but the introduction was so boring and confusing. What was the purpose chapter title I to VII? I just couldn't bring myself to read those chapters. Often the sentences were the exact copy from the previous chapter, over and over again. It's off putting...more

The famous 18th century British author Tobias Smollett, (and infamous grouch) travels to France and Italy in 1763.Bringing along his wife,Nancy and two young girls, of which Nancy was their guardian and a servant.What are the chances that disasters will ensue, for the party of five? Having recent...more

Exceptional. In addition to being an amusingly grouchy take on travel, it offers a first-hand view of France and Italy from a sociological perspective in the years 1763–65. The author, Tobias Smollett, also presents the Roman origins of southern France's many ruins and city names in a fascinating...more

Smollett, has written a rich and highly detailed account of traveling in the mid-eighteenth century. He's very observant of everything going on around him, from the lands he's passing through, modes of transportation, farms, foods, lodgings, prices, art, architecture and the people, and he descri...more

Smollett has to be seen as one of the xenophobic archetypal grumpy old men. At a time when well bred men and women were expected to travel through Europe to complete their education (which, let's face it, was pretty execrable). However, he travels throughout France and Italy with all his prejudic...more

As Henry wrote wonderfully above - Infamous grouch! Smollett provided the model of the wingeing tourist for the next 250 years. At times I wanted to belt the guy. Still, his descriptive powers are often brilliant, and his complaints fully merited. Since the places he visited often retain the very...more

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