Welcome back to my blog for today’s new upload about my ancestor Tobias. On my old classics blog, I wrote a post about my relation to him and some of the works he had written in the 1700s and his travel inspirations. During my pre-University course (Access To Higher Education) earlier in the year, I was given the opportunity to conduct my own research project on a literary topic/author of my choice. From the start, I was determined to pick my ancestor.
I was nine years old when I first found out that I was related to a famous writer. At the time, I merely shrugged my shoulders and didn’t really show an interest. But by age nineteen, that attitude had all since evaporated away. Never would I realise about the incredible adventures Tobias ventured on and how his life story was exactly like an adventure. He was born in Scotland and went into medicine as a surgeon’s mate in the navy. During one of his sailing trips, he meet his future wife who was a wealthy heiress in Jamaica. They had one daughter Elizabeth who died at age fifteen from the nasty disease tuberculosis.
He lived in Bath and London, two famous British cities but both he hated in great detail. London had everything there he needed however but his other travel passions lay in France and Italy. He would die in Italy ages fifty and is buried there. One of my life goals is to make the journey to his grave and leave a bunch of flowers at his side as a way of saying thank you to never stopping writing.
Tobias was not quite a model citizen. He was accused of writing a bad review on an essay that was published by another admiral in the navy and ended up in court. Other times in London, he would argue with drinkers in bars. His visual writing however, was what inspired my piece for my final English Literature assignment. Due to copyright, I am unable to post my full essay online. I do feel that the 3,000 word count was not high enough for me to formally analyse everything my ancestor wrote and his writing styles of visual and epistolary (letters).
Tobias wrote a number of novels such as Roderick Random and Peregrine Pickle. But his most well-known work is Humphry Clinker that was published the same year as his death. In this novel, a group of characters make their way on a journey (road trip) around the UK with multiple POVs and written in epistolary form. When I read it for my essay, I was shocked by just how similar his writing style and my writing style are. Does his ghost live within me? That sounds like a Buzzfeed Unsolved Mystery!
Both of us with our writing like using multiple POVs, letter writing as a style and using lots of visual descriptions when it comes to exploring surroundings. I hadn’t read any of my ancestor’s writing until this course, so it was very new for me. I personally feel that Tobias’s books should be more readily available in libraries and bookstores for everyone to enjoy going on a journey without leaving the comfort of your own home.
One of the most incredible facts that I discovered about Tobias during my research was that one of the biggest-selling authors of Victorian Literature was heavily influenced by my ancestor’s works. That author was Charles Dickens. He spoke very highly of my ancestor and often would recommend Tobias’s books to others. For a piece of Scottish Literature, look no further than my ancestor.
Tobias’s works are available on Amazon Kindle for free as well as ordering physical copies online and in stores across the globe. If you’ve read any books written by him, let me know in the comments section below! If I ever had the opportunity to write a longer research project on Tobias, I would definitely rise to the challenge!
Thanks for reading this post, see you soon!