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Women, Consumption and Popular Culture (Vol. 4 No. 1); Life, Community, and Ethics (Vol. 4. No. 2)

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Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, 1776 to the Present (Vol. 11 No. 2). 


This paper aims to explore various roles that Matthew Bramble and Humphry Clinker act in their interdependent relationship and then to examine why they need each other in order to respectively become a gentleman in Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771). Examinations of
Bramble’s and Clinker’s individual gentleman’s lessons will at the same time reveal why Smollett adopts a different naming strategy when it comes to the title of his last novel. Unlike Roderick Random in The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) and Peregrine Pickle in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), Clinker is never the main narrator of Humphry Clinker. As a result, it can be confusing for some readers to find Clinker’s name in the title of the novel. Smollett, as I will demonstrate, makes the right decision when naming his last novel in this way due to the fact that Clinker’s transformation into a gentleman is arguably the main theme of the novel and the connection between Smollett’s three major novels.

KEYWORDS: gentleman’s education, oeconomy, interdependent, naming strategy