William Combe Bibliography

Philosopher in Bristol 1775
A work in which Combe condemns Bristol businessmen: “love of gain entirely envelopes all traits of feeling and delicacy of sentiment, . . . I bless heaven that I am not a man of merchandize”. In the resulting controversy Combe was forced to publish a modified version of his views. Commerce, he claimed, tarnished only those unwilling to cultivate the finer feelings: many of its practitioners were in fact men of refinement and sensitivity.

Combe, born to a substantial fortune, was educated at Eton and Oxford. Nicknamed ‘Count Combe’ for his extravagance, he descended to a life of literary penury and debt. From 1780 he spent much of his life in debtors’ prison and found occassional employment as a private soldier, cook and waiter. His most famous work was Travels of Dr. Syntax.
The Diaboliad 1776
Travels of Dr. Syntax 1812
Published between 1812 and 1821, with illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson.