Born in Dumbartonshire, Scotland in 1721, Tobias Smollett was classically educated at Dumbarton Grammar School and at the University of Glasgow. From the age of 14, he served as a surgeon's apprentice in Glasgow, before leaving for London in 1739. As a surgeon's mate, he saw active service in the navy, notably during the bloody British defeat at Cartagena in the Caribbean. Following his return to Britain in 1741, Smollett practised as a surgeon in London while attempting, unsuccessfully, to establish himself as a playwright and poet before turning, in his late twenties, to the novel. Even after his youthful success with Roderick Random (1748) and Peregrine Pickle (1751), he still pursued a career in medicine – as surgeon …
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Ross, Ian Campbell. "Tobias Smollett". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2003
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4134, accessed 23 April 2018.]