The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker is a picaresque novel that was written towards the very end of the temperamental Smollett’s life and published shortly before his death in 1771. It is now regarded as his most accomplished novel, and is not coincidentally also his most mellow in outlook. His other novels and travel writing display a general hostility towards man and his actions, particularly when foreigners are involved. Here, the hostility exists between the characters that write the letters that make up the novel: primarily Matthew Bramble, Jery Melford (his nephew), Lydia (his niece), Tabitha (his sister) and Tabitha’s servant Winifred Jenkins. All have distinctive writing styles, in particular Winifred who writes with the strange but just comprehensible idiolect of an illiterate. The characters travel variously in Gloucester, London and areas of Scotland such as the filthy Edinburgh and the more acceptable Glasgow. Various characters are met, including the now-reformed Count Fathom from a previous Smollett adventure and there are numerous absurd and remarkable happenings such as disputes leading to duels, imprisonment, failed romances, jealousy and an inconveniently overturned carriage. The novel satirises the society of the late eighteenth century to great effect and held together with Smollett’s characteristically coarse sense of humour - usually at the expense of his characters and the stereotypes they represent.