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Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Florida Edition

Endlessly digressive, boundlessly imaginative and unmatched in its absurd and timeless wit, Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is edited with an introduction by Melvin New and Joan New, and includes a critical essay by Christopher Ricks in Penguin Classics.

Laurence Sterne's great masterpiece of bawdy humour and rich satire defies any attempt to categorize it, with a rich metafictional narrative that might classify it as the first 'postmodern' novel. Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations.

The text and notes of this volume are based on the acclaimed Florida Edition, with a critical introduction by Melvyn New and Christopher Ricks's introductory essay from the first Penguin Classics edition.

Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) graduated from Cambridge in 1737 and took holy orders, becoming a prebend in York Cathedral. His masterpiece, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman made him a celebrity but ill-health necessitated recuperative travel and A Sentimental Journey grew out of a seven-month trip through France and Italy.

If you enjoyed The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, you might like Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, also available in Penguin Classics.

'The excellent Florida Tristram Shandy ... will be the definitive edition'
Studies in English Literature

'The book that I would never tire of ... Sterne was about 250 years ahead of his time'
Roy Porter, author of Enlightenment: Britain And The Creation Of The Modern World
Portrait

Laurence Sterne (1713-68) was a clergyman. The Life of Tristram Shandy made him a celebrity and he was lavishly feted when he visited London. During the latter years of his life he alternated between there and recuperative continental travels.
Melvyn and Joan New teach at the University of Florida.

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  • CHAPTER I

    I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;-that not only the production of a rational Being was concern'd in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;-and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:--Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,--I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.-Believe me, good folks, this is not so inconsiderable a thing as many of you may think it;-you have all, I dare say, heard of the animal spirits, as how they are transfused from father to son, &c, &c.-and a great deal to that purpose:-Well, you may take my word, that nine parts in ten of a man's sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into; so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, 'tis not a halfpenny matter,--away they go cluttering like hey-go-mad; and by treading the same steps over and over again, they presently make a road of it, as plain and as smooth as a garden-walk, which, when they are once used to, the Devil himself sometimes shall not be able to drive them off it.

    Pray, my dear, quoth my mother, have you not forgot to wind up the clock?--Good G-! cried my father, making an exclamation, but taking care to moderate his voice at the same time,--Did ever woman, since the creation of the world, interrupt a man with such a silly question? Pray, what was your father saying?--Nothing.

    CHAPTER II

    --Then, positively, there is nothing in the question, that I can see, either good or bad.--Then let me tell you, Sir, it was a very unseasonable question at least,-because it scattered and dispersed the animal spirits, whose business it was to have escorted and gone hand-in-hand with the HOMUNCULUS, and conducted him safe to the place destined for his reception.

    The Homunculus, Sir, in how-ever low and ludicrous a light he may appear, in this age of levity, to the eye of folly or prejudice;-to the eye of reason in scientifick research, he stands confess'd-a Being guarded and circumscribed with rights:--The minutest philosophers, who, by the bye, have the most enlarged understandings, (their souls being inversely as their enquiries) shew us incontestably, That the Homunculus is created by the same hand,-engender'd in the same course of nature,-endowed with the same loco-motive powers and faculties with us:--That he consists, as we do, of skin, hair, fat, flesh, veins, arteries, ligaments, nerves, cartileges, bones, marrow, brains, glands, genitals, humours, and articulations;--is a Being of as much activity,--and, in all senses of the word, as much and as truly our fellow-creature as my Lord Chancellor of England.-He may be benefited, he may be injured,-he may obtain redress;-in a word, he has all the claims and rights of humanity, which Tully, Puffendorff, or the best ethick writers allow to arise out of that state and relation.

    Now, dear Sir, what if any accident had befallen him in his way alone?--or that, thro' terror of it, natural to so young a traveller, my little gentleman had got to his journey's end miserably spent;--his muscular strength and virility worn down to a thread;-his own animal spirits ruffled beyond description,-and that in this sad disorder'd state of nerves, he had laid down a prey to sudden starts, or a series of melancholy dreams and fancies for nine long, long months together.--I tremble to think what a foundation had been laid for
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Produktdetails

Einband Taschenbuch
Herausgeber Joan New, Melvyn New
Seitenzahl 720
Erscheinungsdatum 27.03.2003
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-14-143977-8
Verlag Penguin Books Ltd
Maße (L/B/H) 20/12.8/4 cm
Gewicht 540 g
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Fr. 19.90
Fr. 19.90
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