Art and Money in the Writings of Tobias Smollett
Shedding new light on a misunderstood master, this study situates Tobias Smollett (1721-71) as a key witness to the birth of the modern commercial art market. Focusing on the aesthetic issues of taste, luxury, commercialism, as well as aesthetics itself, William L. Gibson examines Smollett's histories and non-fiction writing as well as his novels to open a panorama on the eighteenth-century art world. Art and Money in the Writings of Tobias Smollett demonstrates how Smollett's articles on fine art for the Critical Review (1756-63) straddle the fence between advertisements and art criticism, and create snapshots of the role periodical publishing played in fostering the commercial art market. Chapters on Peregrine Pickle (1751, revised 1758), Travels Through France and Italy (1766), and The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (1771) explore Smollett's perspective on the burgeoning art market of the period, the social aspect of art appreciation, and the role of fashionable architecture. Smollett's articles from the Critical Review, never before collated and printed in a scholarly work, are collected in an annotated appendix, while the lavish illustrations to his Complete History of England (1755-58), and its Continuation (1760-65), which underlines the writer's complicity in the for-profit art world of the time, are examined in a second appendix.
About the author:
William L. Gibson taught literature for two years at Lehman College, CUNY, and currently teaches at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.