The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

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by Laurence Sterne
     
 

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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (or, more briefly, Tristram Shandy) is a novel by Laurence Sterne. It was published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next seven years (vols. 3 and 4, 1761; vols. 5 and 6, 1762; vols. 7 and 8, 1765; vol. 9, 1767).

The books bawdy humour was popular with… See more details below

Overview

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (or, more briefly, Tristram Shandy) is a novel by Laurence Sterne. It was published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next seven years (vols. 3 and 4, 1761; vols. 5 and 6, 1762; vols. 7 and 8, 1765; vol. 9, 1767).

The books bawdy humour was popular with London society. Through time, it has come to be seen as one of the greatest comic novels in English. Schopenhauer in particular, considered it the acme and crowning of the novel form, one of the "four novels at the top of their class," along with Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, Rousseau's Nouvelle Héloïse, and Cervantes' Don Quixote.

As its title suggests, the book is ostensibly Tristram's narration of his life story. But it is one of the central jokes of the novel that he cannot explain anything simply, that he must make explanatory diversions to add context and colour to his tale, to the extent that Tristram's own birth is not even reached until Volume III.

Consequently, apart from Tristram as narrator, the most familiar and important characters in the book are his father Walter, his mother, his Uncle Toby, Toby's servant Trim, and a supporting cast of popular minor characters, including the chambermaid, Susannah, Doctor Slop, and the parson, Yorick.

Most of the action is concerned with domestic upsets or misunderstandings, which find humour in the opposing temperaments of Walter—splenetic, rational, and somewhat sarcastic—and Uncle Toby, who is gentle, uncomplicated, and a lover of his fellow man.

"The long-nosed Stranger of Strasburg": Book IV opens with a story from one of Walter's favourite books, a collection of stories in Latin about noses.

In between such events, Tristram as narrator finds himself discoursing at length on sexual practices, insults, the influence of one's name, and noses as well as explorations of obstetrics, siege warfare, and philosophy as he struggles to marshal his material and finish the story of his life.

Though Tristram is always present as narrator and commentator, the book contains little of his life, only the story of a trip through France and accounts of the four comical mishaps which shaped the course of his life from an early age.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015195859
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
08/23/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
0 MB

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