The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
(THE GREAT CLASSICS LIBRARY)
At the beginning of the novel Peregrine is a young country gentleman, rejected by his cruel mother, ignored by his indifferent father, hated by his degenerate brother, and raised by Commodore Hawser Trunnion who is greatly attached to the boy. Peregrine's upbringing, education at Oxford, journey to France, his debauchery, bankruptcy, jailing at the Fleet, unexpected succeeding to the fortune of his father, his final repentance and marriage to his beloved Emilia all provide scope for Smollett's satire on human cruelty, stupidity, and greed. The novel is written as a series of adventures, with every chapter typically describing a new adventure. There is also a very long independent story, "The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality", inside the novel.
Peregrine Pickle features several amusing characters, most notably Commodore Hawser Trunnion, an old seaman and misogynist who lives in a "garrison" of a house with his former shipmates. Possibly, Trunnion's lifestyle helped Dickens to create Wemmick of Great Expectations. Another interesting character is Cadwallader Crabtree, an old misanthrope and Peregrine's friend, who amuses himself by playing ingenious jokes on the naive and gullible human creatures.
Smollett also caricatured many of his enemies in the novel, most notably Henry Fielding and the actor David Garrick. Fitzroy Henry Lee was supposedly the model for Hawser Trunnion.
- Revenant, October 2012
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