At the age of 42, following the death of his 15-year-old daughter and in failing health, Tobias Smollett embarked on a yearlong journey through France and Italy in 1763. Written as a series of letters, Travels in France and Italy describes in a delightfully grouchy manner his miserable experiences in each and every city he visited.
Described by some as the "champion bad traveler," Smolett argues with his hosts and fellow travelers and holds in contempt not only French and Italian art and politics, but the Catholic religion as well. The intolerance and prejudice he displays makes for what critics call a thoroughly entertaining and perceptive travel book.
TOBIAS GEORGE SMOLLETT (1721-1771) was a Scottish author best known for his picaresque novels about the adventures and expeditions of such characters as Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, and Humphrey Clinker.
He was educated as a surgeon, joined the Navy, and began writing, all without much success. His whole life seemed to be a series of turns for the worst. His last words are said to have been "All is well, my dear."