A Journey Through the Nation’s Body: Tobias Smollett’s «The Expedition of Humphry Clinker»


  • Sara Sullam Università degli Studi di Milano




In this essay, I will offer some brief considerations on how the bodily metaphor is particularly apt to a critical reading of Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker on several and diverse levels. More specifically, I will focus (i) on the fluid generic status of the novel and on its position within the corpus of eighteenth-century British fiction; (ii) on the writing and reading of the nation’s body considered in its relationship with the structure of the novel; and (iii) on the city/country relationship as it emerges in the description of London, which, I suggest, can be read in parallel with George Cheyne’s considerations in The English Malady. In fact, as I will argue, for both his Scottishness and his practice of «medicine-by-post» (Wild 2006), Cheyne is a key figure to investigate several aspects of Humphry Clinker.

Biografia autore

Sara Sullam, Università degli Studi di Milano

Sara Sullam (Milan, 1979) graduated in Modern Languages (English and German) from Milan Statale University. She was visiting scholar at Freie Universität Berlin and at UC Berkeley. From 2011 to 2015 she was post-doc researcher at Milan Statale University, with a research project on the reception of English twentieth-century literature in the Italian publishing industry after World War II. She is now junior lecturer in English Literature at Milan Statale University. She is the author of Tra i generi. Virginia Woolf e il romanzo (Mimesis 2016) and the co-editor of Transits. The Nomadic Geographies of Anglo-American Mondernism (Peter Lang 2010, with Giovanni Cianci and Caroline Patey) and of Parallaxes. Virginia Woolf Meets James Joyce (Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2014). She has published several essays on Joyce with particular attention to the making of his Italian translations. In 2016 she translated Joyce’s occasional, critical and political writings into Italian (Lettere e saggi, il Saggiatore).


Sara Sullam (Milano 1979) è ricercatrice in letteratura inglese presso l’Università Statale di Milano. Ha scritto diversi saggi su Joyce, Woolf, William Carlos Williams, Isherwood, e sulla ricezione della letteratura inglese novecentesca nel campo letterario italiano. E’ autrice di Tra i generi. Virginia Woolf e il romanzo (Mimesis 2016) e co-curatrice di Parallaxes. Virginia Woolf meets James Joyce (Cambridge Scholar Publishing 2014). Per i tipi de il Saggiatore ha tradotto l’opera saggistica di Joyce (in Lettere e saggi, a cura di Enrico Terrinoni, 2016).


Orcid: 0000-0002-7819-8315






Representing the Body in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture