The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Penguin Classics)


Sterne's dramas were mostly personal, including bitter quarrels with his wife and uncle, and some high profile affairs. The publication of the first volumes of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy in made him famous throughout Europe overnight. He went on to complete the remaining volumes over the next seven years. Sterne died in of tuberculosis, the condition that had dogged him for many years.

This was Rand's fourth, longest and last novel, and she considered it her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. As indicated by its working title The Strike, the book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society Written in the early years of the Cold War, the novel is a critique of what Bradbury saw as issues in American society of the era. Bradbury's publisher at Ballantine Books then suggested that he expand the work to make into a novel—Fahrenheit Published in , it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California Build a revolutionary library of literature that has been challenged or even outright banned.

You'll be surprised by some of the titles in this gallery! Teeny, tiny, beautiful books Dive in and see! What makes Biblio different? Rabelais is a primary source, as is Robert Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy", but there are numerous references and 'borrowings' from Swift, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Locke and the Greek or Roman classics. Sterne's achievement is not only to integrate all these disparate sources into his discourse, but to provide a critical, pertinent commentary on the salient points and on the shortcomings of each.

Also worth noting is Sterne love for the English language, the playful anarchy of his pleonasms, archaism and nonce words. Probably, had I been forced to read this in highschool, I would have hated it with a vengeance. It's dense, it has no plot it takes three volumes for the main character to be born , you need a heavy dictionary close at hand and Sterne's phrase construction would make Faulkner envious.

Some of the views embraced by Sterne are less palatable than others - attacks on atheists, mysoginy, theories linking racial profiles to climate, his disparaging of the French and of Catholics, etc. Even now, in my almost dottage, the lecture was occasionaly a chore and soporific, but the joy of making sense of a bawdy joke or a heart to heart conversation directly addressed to the readership "may it please your worships!

Had Sterne been granted a reprieve from the merciless illness that put him in an early grave and written the forty Shandy volumes he had promised us, I'm sure I would have eventually read them all. I still wonder how Trim would have finished his tale of the King of Bohemia What is the book really about? It says right on the cover: Another alter-ego of the author is the pastor Yorick, a transparent reference to "Hamlet"and a self-portrait of Sterne as the tragic court jester who is the only one capable of speaking truth to power. For the internet age, I have a third analogy of the author as an early incarnation of that virtual animal, the perfect troll, a thorn in the side "obstreperated" is Sterne's choice of descriptor of his pompous, rigid minded and pious contemporaries: Tristram's father, mother and especially his uncle Toby with an assortment doctors, lawyers, clerics, chambermaids, valets, etc.

Let's see how many of my favorite passages I can include in the space allocated by Goodreads for a proper review! Could a historiographer drive on his history, as a muleteer drives on his mule, - straightforward For, if he is a man of the least spirit, he will have fifty deviations from a straight line to make with this or that party as he goes along, which he can no way avoid. He will have views and prospects to himself perpetually solliciting his eye, which he can no more help standing still to look at than he can fly; he will moreover have various Accounts to reconcile: Anecdotes to pick up: Inscriptions to make out: Stories to weave in: Personages to call upon: Panygericks to post at his door: All which both the man and his mule are quite exempt from.

Speaking of mules, here's sample of Sterne's bawdy jokes: My father had a favourite little mare, which he had consigned over to the most beautiful Arabian horse, in order to have a pad out her for his own riding: By some neglect or other in Obadiah, it so fell out, that my father's expectations were answered with nothing better than a mule, and as ugly a beast of the kind as ever was produced.

My mother and my uncle Toby expected my father would be the death of Obadiah - and that there never would be an end of the disaster. To continue with the literary theory, in defence of meandering, according to Tristram Shandy: Throwing the gauntlet at his critics who complained about the lack of plot and the rambling nature of the novel, Sterne accuses them of intellectual laziness. Dare I bring James Joyce in here too, and mention Shandy as a precursor of the stream of consicence novel? Pray, Sir, in all the reading you have ever read, did you ever read such a book as Locke's Essay upon the Human Understanding?

In defense of satire and in response to those critics who say that wit and judgement in this world never go together, Sterne replies: Sterne's crusade against backward thinking and fake puritanism continues by quoting la Rochefoucauld: Gravity is a mysterious carriage of the body to cover the defects of the mind. We are tormented with the opinions we have of things, and not by things themselves. Not practicalities trouble human beings, but dogmas concerning them The back and forth with the critics with regard with satirical, bawdy writing includes both defense and attack: Certainly there is a difference between Bitterness and Saltness, that is, between the malignity and the festivity of wit, the one is mere quickness of apprehension, void of humanity, and is a talent of the devil; the other comes down from the Father of Spirits, so pure and abstracted from persons, that willingly it hurts no man Did you think the world itself, Sir, had contained such a number of Jack asses?

Before I continue, I believe Sterne's praise of Cervantes also belongs in this section on satire: True Shandeism, think what you will against it, opens the heart and lungs, and like all those affections which partake of its nature, it forces the blood and other vital fluids of the body to run freely thro' its channels, and makes the wheel of life run long and cheerfully round.

To be honest, Sterne's taste in risque humour would raise a few eyebrows even today. Here's valet Trim receiving a massage from a Beguine in Flanders, after being injured in the knee: I perceived, then, I was beginning to be in love As she continued rub-rub-rubbing - I felt it spread from under her hand, an' please your honour, to every part of my frame The more she rubb'd, and the longer strokes she took the more the fire kindled in my veins till at length, by two or three strokes longer than the rest my passion rose to the highest pitch I seiz'd her hand And then, thou clapped'st it to thy lips, Trim, said my uncle Toby and madest a speech.

Whether the corporal's amour terminated precisely in the way my uncle Toby described it, is not material; it is enough that it contain'd in it the essence of all the love-romances which ever have been wrote since the beginning of the world. Uncle Toby is an innocent, one of Sterne's favorite characters in the novel, the side of the balance that compensates for all the malign fools the author probably encountered in life.

Here's a passionate defense of Toby: Peace and comfort rest for evermore upon thy head! Thou envied'st no man's comforts, - insulted'st no man's opinions, - thou blackened'st no man's character, - devoured'st no man's bread; gently with faithful Trim behind thee, didst thou amble round the little circle of thy pleasures, jostling no creature in thy way; - for each one's service [funeral] thou had shed a tear, - for each man's need, thou hadst a shilling. Still, innocents make great foils for the jokes of their friends: Methinks, brother, replied my father, you might, at least, know so much as the right end of a woman from the wrong.

Maybe widow Wadham can help Toby find his way around the gentler sex I was confident the following memoirs of my uncle Toby's courtship of widow Wadman, whenever I got time to write them, would turn out one of the most compleat systems, both of the elementary and practical part of love and love-making, that ever was addressed to the world. Sterne's issues a stern warning though: A daughter of Eve, for such was widow Wadman, and 'tis all the character I intend to give of her - "That she was a perfect woman" - had better be fifty leagues off, or in her warm bed, or playing with a case-knife, or any thing you please - than make a man the object of her attention, when the house and all the furniture is her own.

There is nothing in it out of doors and in broad day-light, where a woman has power, physically speaking, of viewing a man in more lights than one - but here, for her soul, she can see him in no light without mixing something of her own goods and chattels along with him - till by reiterated acts of such combinations, he gets foisted into her inventory - And then good night.

Sterne, for all his bawdy jokes and slightly mysoginistic comments on women, would not live in a world without love a passage borrowed from Rabelais: Love is certainly, at least alphabetically speaking, one of the most Agitating Bewitching Confounded Devilish affairs of life - the most Extravagant Futilitous Galligaskinish Handy-dandyish Iracundulous here is no K to it and Lyrical of all human passions: The cart before the horse, replied my father And what has he to do there? Uncle Toby is a fine illustration of wit without malice, and Sterne's position is made clear in more than one passionate defense of temperance and forgiveness: This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me.

Yet doubtless there is a communication between them of some kind, and my opinion rather is, that there is something in it more of the manner of electrified bodies, and that by means of the heated parts of the rider, which come immediately into contact with the back of the HOBBY-HORSE by long journies and much friction, it so happens that the body of the rider is at length fill'd as full of HOBBY-HORSICAL matter as it can hold; so that if you are able to give a clear description of the nature of one, you may form a pretty exact notion of the genius and character of the other.

In other words, most people are ful of s--t, and their hobbies power, intolerance, lying, sophism, stamp collecting or whoring are a good pointer to their true character. But look at the beam in your own eye before you point out the straw in that of your neighbors: De gustibus non est disputandum: Have not the wisest men in all ages - not excepting Solomon himself - have they not had their HOBBY-HORSES; their running horses, their coins and their cockle-shells, their drums and their trumpets, their fiddles, their pallets, their maggots and their butterflies?

But let us continue with Tristram's misadventures, this improbable hero doomed right from the start: I have been the continual sport of what the world calls Fortune; and though I will not wrong her by saying, she has ever made me feel the weight of any great or signal evil, yet with all the good temper in the world, I affirm it of her, That in every stage of my life, and at every turn and corner where she could fairly get at me, the ungracious Duchess has pelted me with a set of pitiful misadventures and cross accidents as ever small Hero sustained. This edition from Visual Editions expands upon, or at least emphasises, the typographical fancies Sterne deployed for his maddening nine-book digressive epic.

The edition is lacking in explanatory notes, meaning a new reader interested in keeping up with the Latin, Greek and French asides, or the avalanche of obscure references that come thicker and faster as the book—um, progresses? I read this constantly flipping back to the OUP ed for notes—eventually I gave up. Tristram Shandy , as you will discover, may be a book of digressions and wild goose chases, but it demands Zen-like concentration for both the scholasticism and the difficult 18thC English. I hope to prove a better reader on the second spin. Michael Winterbottom made the film with Steve Coogan.

View all 24 comments. View all 3 comments. Jul 26, Tony rated it it was amazing Recommended to Tony by: This seminal tale, waxing autobiographical, takes three of the nine volumes at play before our narrator is coaxed out and erroneously christened. I was, in short, a pleasant surprise; a phrase which would not thereafter be renewed in describing me.

The christening was another matter, however. The naming went as intended, unlike the unfortunate Tristram;I was to be a junior.

I asked my father, years later, what the last name meant—a jumble of letters rendered pronounceable by some hurried Ellis Island functionary. My grandmother, who came to the U. So, you know, I have that going for me. The godparents were carefully chosen. Uncle Butch, with steel-blue eyes and white knuckles, chewed his cheroots and very much liked his beer and whiskey chaser. My christening would be the first excepting the time he stole an ambulance in England during WWII to go visit his brother, my father, and create an international incident; and last time he ventured more than five miles from his abode.

Aunt Mary did not, and does not, walk into a room; she makes an entrance, Hollywood style. It was the second day of the party when they were entrusted with ME; in flowing white: They feigned sober as they entered, and would have pulled it off had not Father Walter asked where the baby was. They had, it seems, misplaced your narrator. The exact period of my unsupervision is uncertain accounts vary and this in no way is an excuse for my subsequent misbehavior nor my naming, which, as I reported, was no accident.

Digressions, incontestably, are the sun-shine: Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world, though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst, the cant of criticism is the most tormenting! This is a carnival ride of a book; a journey of head-spinning and wry smiles and knowing winks; teaching us we play at War and work at Love. Sterne is indebted to Cervantes and presages Dickens. View all 12 comments. Jun 11, David Lentz rated it it was amazing.

There is so much in this novel one hardly knows where to begin, which is Sterne's hilarious problem for the first pages or so. Tristram Shandy is a comic masterpiece, like Fielding's Tom Jones, which arose barely after the invention of the genre. Donleavy Darcy Danc There is so much in this novel one hardly knows where to begin, which is Sterne's hilarious problem for the first pages or so.

One has to love the way that Toby explains to Mrs. Wadman where he was wounded during one of her sieges of his fortress. One has to laugh at Sterne's tearing out of chapters, allowing the reader to pencil in his favorite profanities, making sense of pages of black ink, marbled patterns, blank pages and squiggled lines marking little ups and downs -- as obscure as the raw meaning of life itself.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

He writes chapters about whiskers, noses, buttons and nothing. I especially enjoyed the dedications to famous persons before several of his volumes. The epigrams were delicious and the careful reader is rewarded on every page for paying close attention to Sterne's often subtle comic style. Sterne certainly opened up the genre with an experimental literary style in which he created a vibrant, raucous, hilarious novel still relevant years after it was penned.

I can't say enough about the contribution of this comic gem to the literary works that followed, especially in Ireland. If you're a serious reader with a sense of humor, you'll be amused and enlightened by Sterne's intrepid wit. View all 6 comments.

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Mar 27, Jeremy rated it did not like it Shelves: I wanted to like this, I really did. Sterne is a hugely inventive, hugely capable writer. Maybe he doesn't go in for the batshit linguistic free-for-all that people like James Joyce do, but he is every bit as bizarre and technically innovative. You could recognize one of his wildly digressive, over-mannered sentences in a heartbeat.

But I still couldn't stand Tristam Shandy. Not because it's 'bad' per se, parts of it are extremely engaging and genuinely funny in a way that basically no writing I wanted to like this, I really did. Not because it's 'bad' per se, parts of it are extremely engaging and genuinely funny in a way that basically no writing from the 18th century is engaging or funny but because it seemed like the work of a huge talent essentially dicking around for hundreds and hundreds of pages on what felt like, to me, a gimmick.

Don't get me wrong, if modern literature has proven anything it's that huge, digressive chunks of text have a totally valid and at times, even stunning place in fiction and non-fiction alike. But a digression, however audacious or clever, is still a movement away from something, and Tristram Shandy doesn't really have anything to move away from, or back to.

It's got no center. Maybe I'm not a conceptually ambitious enough reader to appreciate something this free-floating, but this book makes even the most fanatically post-modern fiction seem 'tame' by comparison. Tons of newer novels try to make it painfully clear just how decentralized they are, how utterly discursive and free from the confines of our often admittedly stodgy literary traditions they can be. Sterne wrote something that actually is those things, and while that might be clever on his part, it's just not enough.

Not from someone who obviously has the chops to do so much more. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a novel that is somehow greatly entertaining and impossibly infuriating at the same time. Tristram, our narrator and author, is quite partial to tangents. A true tangent has to touch the circle at one point. Tristram completely bypasses the circle. This is a novel about a man trying to write a novel. However, he is quite easily distracted. Just when there's a bare semblance of a plot, Tristram goes off on a reel about something The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a novel that is somehow greatly entertaining and impossibly infuriating at the same time.

Just when there's a bare semblance of a plot, Tristram goes off on a reel about something else. Tristram tries to write about his birth, he goes slightly off-topic, we finally witness his birth around page For some, this novel would be absolute hell. And at points, I was of that mindset. But then Sterne would come through with some of the most ridiculous and hilarious scenes that all is eventually forgiven. There are chapters in here that are some of the funniest I've ever read Tristram's accidental circumcision for example.

  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Penguin Classics)?
  • Rotta (German Edition).
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And these parts really prop up the entire novel. It is first and foremost a farce and a social satire, or a cock and bull story. If you are thinking of tackling Tristram Shandy then in the words of the Scouts: You'll hate this novel and you'll love this novel. In the end they'll balance out. Nov 22, Elena rated it it was amazing Shelves: Wittgenstein once noted that you could profitably write an entire work of philosophy that is comprised entirely of jokes.

I wonder if he got the idea from Tristram Shandy since he said it was one of his favourite books , because this is exactly what Sterne has done here. Because he has chosen humor as his medium, Sterne, like Shakespeare's tragically prophetic and misunderstood jester Yorick who seems to be chosen by Sterne as his emblem, since he figures not just here but also in his A Sentim Wittgenstein once noted that you could profitably write an entire work of philosophy that is comprised entirely of jokes. Because he has chosen humor as his medium, Sterne, like Shakespeare's tragically prophetic and misunderstood jester Yorick who seems to be chosen by Sterne as his emblem, since he figures not just here but also in his A Sentimental Journey , makes for an unusual sort of a sage figure.

And yet, I think, it is this very peculiar way of revealing insight where we thought there was none to be had and in a way we thought it unlikely to get it to boot that makes him interesting as a philosopher-novelist. His narrative shows the roundabout, circuitous ways that insight is to be had in life. Ultimately, what the work explores is what self-knowledge means, and what it takes to make up a coherent story that defines a self out of our fragmentary experience. It stretches the means of narrative description in order to model our day-to-day processes of self-knowledge and meaning-making, while in the end showing that our narratives themselves make the self they aim to discover.

The purpose of the novel is to self-reflexively explore the limits of narrative, as a medium, to render the shape of a life. Much of the comedy is epistemic. We see the insane efforts the narrator makes to pinpoint the exact cause of events, like a quirky old man who is frantically fumbling through all his pockets in his search for his keys so that he can let his guests into his house at long last.

This leads to the "hero's" long-postponed -birth- yes, the dude isn't even born til, what, if I recall, chapter 9?? This being the case, you're asked to not look for a narrative thread here, but rather to look behind the thread, at the making of the thread out of the fragments of a life, frantically pulled together by a comically earnest old man who is desperate to entertain you with a story but, I imagine, also mischievously and sadistically withholding it, in the case of Sterne himself, who is behind the scenes.

If you're insistent on looking for a story here, this work will be a gruesome test of endurance for you. And that is precisely where the humor of it lies, in the discharge of laughter that comes every time you realize that the narrator's impish, comical, philosophical fastidiousness about identifying the exact causes of life events is the cause of the grueling, indefinite postponement of the satisfaction of our epistemic hunger for narrative consummation that we all expect. We all hunger for a tidy tying up of loose ends. Can he get born already?? We're ready to throw causality out the window, if he could just get on with it and come into life.

Please, enough already about how a chance conversation with the uncle about military fortification methods might have had something to do with the events leading up to the insemination! And yet, we masochistically love the treatment we're being dished out, somehow. And that also forms part of the humor of the situation. I think that all narrative structures are built on top of an implicit ontology. Sterne's is no exception, and yet looking at this mess of detail, you'd think I am hallucinating a pattern where there is none.

In A Sentimental Journey, the narrator usefully formulates his one overriding principle: Indeed, "all is intermix'd" in life, and that is why it is also intermix'd in his art, which tries to stretch the limits of representation and description in order to reflect life as much as possible. Sterne is an early precursor to the stream of consciousness method of narrative, which seeks to render experience in all its messy richness. Yet the dashes and the fragmentary, collage-like method of building up a description which often culminates in an anticlimactic lack of completion - and collapses upon itself like a house of cards built on the sand - suggests that narrative is, by its nature, a futile endeavour to make a complete, meaningful whole out of an inherently broken, scattered existence.

The self-reflexivity fractures the narrative prism into myriads of fragmentary shards.

THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF TRISTRAM SHANDY, GENTLEMAN

If we'd have precision, we lose the rounded completeness we seek, and vice versa. We can never capture the richness of experience in our narrative, symbolic nets. We can only skirt the periphery of that unruly richness. I love the way he exhibits, narratively, what is involved in the -effort- at making an honest description of an event in life. The narrative re-enacts the processes by which, on a day-to-day and moment-to-moment basis, we put together whatever meaning is to be had out of our experience.

The narrative's self-reflexive efforts at examining the process of description model the epistemic processes by which we make up a lifeworld, a bubble of meaning in which we, ultimately, are sealed for the duration of our lives. If we look at how we, ourselves, in our everyday efforts to form a unity out of the scattered messiness of our lives, we will find, with a smile of recognition, much of that same process of knowing our lives reflected in Sterne's narrative method here.

The messiness of tangled and obscure causalities, the irreducible particularity of events, the -surplus- of meanings that is just not collapsible into a tidy framework, is the threefold truth that Sterne insists on. Describing an event in life turns out to be like trying to scoop up water with a sieve.

Part of the humor comes from here, also, from this inevitably doomed effort to fix life into a description just as it is endlessly slipping away through the cracks. Sterne is a modern day Aristophanes making fun of Socrates' way of being rather ridiculous way of being "out of touch" with life. The humor comes, ultimately, from the narrator's insistence on philosophic precision and self-reflexivity in the face of life's irreducible messiness.

It comes from the ironic discrepancy between the philosophic attitude and lived life. It is as if the narrator plays along with the philosophic demand for clarity and precision, only to reveal its absurdity. Despite that, there is no nihilist conclusion here, as one might expect from a work that denies all order as a kind of forgery.

Rather, it is as if the narrator were trying to catch a rambunctious child at play who is also sometimes rather destructive in its carefree abandon and get it to sit pretty in a corner so that he could get its portrait right. Life doesn't stop that way. We understand this because the work -shows- this truth. The ultimate point in all this, I think, and yes, I insist, there is a philosophical point just as there is a narrative one is to show at what a far remove from life all our projects of systematization, or of providing a totalizing description, really are.

In a sense, when we yearn for narrative completeness, that drive takes over and creates an independent universe of pure fiction in which we almost exclusively come to dwell. Ultimately, the irony of the book is that it is less about the "Life" of Tristram Shandy than it is about his - and influential others' - "Opinions.

Life just IS a process of story-making; the story we make up cements us in place for life. We live in our personal bubble of meaning, and, as such, real conversation is impossible as the novel amply displays, with the numerous hilarious fly-by "conversations". What we leave behind is simply our pet construct, which then shapes - and circumscribes - the life of those who come after. Each with his own hobby horse, as Sterne would put it, and your hobby-horse is your destiny. The philosopher is no different, and lacks any privileged perspective over all other hobby horses though we philosophers like to think of philosophy as some meta-hobby-horse.

One of my favourite quotes from the book well describes the author's attitude to all efforts to systematize life via formal knowledge projects: When that happens, it is to be hoped, it will put an end to all kind of writings whatsoever;—the want of all kind of writing will put an end to all kind of reading;—and that in time, As war begets poverty, poverty peace,——must, in course, put an end to all kind of knowledge,—and then——we shall have all to begin over again; or, in other words, be exactly where we started.

Even before reading Nietzsche, as a budding philosopher who is also an avid consumer of art and reader of literature, I have realized that most philosophy impoverishes itself by ignoring the crucial way in which the medium through which we give form to our wisdom becomes a crucial part of that wisdom. The relationship between the medium and style of a philosophy to its content is much like the relationship between body and mind, in general.

After all, what is Nietzsche without that shadowy lushness of style, or Kant without that crystalline lucidity? Hume without irony, or Plato without the dialogue form? I am of the rather anathema conviction that the resources of philosophizing would expand considerably if it were to cease its phony, age-old war against the arts declared in Plato's Republic , and instead learn to draw on the rich characterizations of human experience that the arts alone can provide.

After all, the epistemic instrument that the arts can provide - and that philosophy notoriously lacks - is the -description- it provides of the irreducible particularity, specificity and richness of lived life. If philosophy is to more fully draw on all our capacity for experience and insight, it must learn from the much more richly specified descriptive process that narrative possesses, and which helps it more directly map onto experience. This conviction tends to make me an outsider among -both- philosophers and artists, each of whom believes, in their own way, that "never the twain shall meet.

It is all in good fun, a wonderful satire that aims for lowbrow comedy by using every single aspect of the highbrow educated culture of To mention some example 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy' is a fictional memoir of sorts, but the novel is written in a manner to subvert the formal conventions of the novel a proto-post-modern genre , and along the way, assert the role of the author as a Maximus Prime Writer, or in other words, someone in complete control of your television set. To mention some examples of the author's games with the reader, the Dedication is placed after several chapters of the book, chapters are skipped or missing, the narration of the action is interrupted by sudden 'ejaculations' of listening characters or the author who are reminded of another story, which may or may not be finished in the telling, while the original plot thread may be mislaid for awhile.

If you are looking for any forward motion in the plot, forget it. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of digressions. There is mention early in the book of an amusing mysterious injury that a central character suffered and that Tristram promises to explain, which he eventually does in a chaotic collage of revisited scenes involving an anxious romance. This mystery is possibly the one reason that some readers finish the book in spite of its archaic language and frustrating construction. That said, Sterne also seems to conclude sometimes a banana is just a banana, and we readers are too quick to judge.

Sterne entertains as he experiments with font changes, colored wordless pages, and curly lines which refuse to be straightforward. This all makes for a curious read, already slow because of untranslated foreign language quotations and unorthodox grammar, punctuation and sophisticated OED language of I strongly recommend picking up a copy, such as the Modern Library printing, which has plenty of notes and glossaries. Also, I found this link to be profoundly helpful: The wit will be lost if you flip to offside explanations too much.

There is no question reading it will be a slow job, despite short chapters. However, I found the novel immensely entertaining and worth the effort. It is the silly intelligent wit which is the main interest. The book also shows that family life and people are not much different in love, marriage or interests despite the difference of centuries between the time the book was written and our time. So, this is my severely abbreviated partial summary: Two of the sweetest ex-soldiers I've ever had the pleasure to meet - Corporal Trim, a companion, and Captain Uncle Toby Shandy, who are inseparable since they both retired from military service after injuries, and Toby's brother, the soon-to-be father Walter Shandy, are awaiting the birth of Tristram, Walter's son.

Any conversations in which they participate tend to soon revolve around their war experiences, which are basically a thousand ways to describe the building of walls and trenches. A male midwife has joined them, Dr. Slop, who joins in the conversation while they sit in the parlor. Shandy, Elizabeth, has refused to use Slop and is with her own choice of midwife, a woman, upstairs, in labor. Walter, meanwhile holds forth on many many many things, mostly involving opinions and ideas, such as hobby-horses, names, economics and women.

Tristram, in telling of this night, also drifts to future events as well as the past, particularly stories about the local parson, Yorick. Like father, like son. View all 11 comments. Apr 07, ba rated it really liked it. To be honest, I never heard of this book before the film came out last year.

My wife heard an NPR report on the film, and they used the terms Post-Modern and Unfilmable so many times that she knew I would be interested. We saw the film and liked it. I finally picked upthe book and read it, expecting a challenging work that would yield some intellectual dividends if I could just plow through it somehow.

In actuality, the book was a very fun read.

Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (Part 1/4) AUDIOBOOK

It did indeed have the foreshadowings of postmoder To be honest, I never heard of this book before the film came out last year. It did indeed have the foreshadowings of postmodern flair. Of course where one would today find cinematic references, there were instead references to Voltaire, Cervantes and Shakespeare. Really, much of the book plays with the then new form of the novel, and questions what is writable and what isn't. The narrative, such as it is, unfolds as a narrator tangents around an autobiography, augmented by an "editor" in the form of footnotes, and sometimes inserted right into the text.

The narrator addresses the reader directly, often anticipating the reader's objections and arguing his point. The footnoting at points is pre-reminiscent? Whimsical typography and comically abbreviated chapters recall precall? In conclusion, for obvious reasons, I'm going to try to make it through this entire review without mentioning an author that rhymes with Schmynchon. Jan 24, Melissa Rudder rated it really liked it Shelves: After I read it a mere three years ago, I swore I would take my MA Exam without rereading it to avoid undergoing such torture a second time. I gave it one star on goodreads.

Having forgotten everything about the novel aside from my distaste for it , I had to reread it for the exam. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed out loud. I read sections to people around me because I thought they were amusing. I put the book down hesitantly when I had to take a break from it. I think my main problem with reading Tristram Shandy the first time was that I was looking for the linear plot that reached its climax in the third act and then gracefully fell to its denouement.

Sterne wants to shake up the expected system—something rather ahead of its time in the s. On my first reading, I rebelled against his diversionary tactics and tangents and dangerously thrust my nose into the book searching for the next big plot development. And that is not how you should read Tristram Shandy. Feb 27, Maddie added it Shelves: I can't believe I actually finished this. View all 5 comments. This book is amazing. Books like this cause me a great deal of anxiety. I laughed out loud frequently — not just at the cunning wordplay frequently on display, but even more than that, at the structure itself.

This book feels centuries ahead of its time, and at times still feels forward thinking reading it today. The rabbit hole of digressions that this book takes in the first three volumes is both overwhelming and exhilarating. I will say that I felt that the book does not maintain the same level of intensity, humor, or just plain batshit insanity in the second half as is present in the first half. It is truly deserving of the incredibly high regard in which it is held. Pode ser que eu me inclua nesses milhares de mulheres sobre as quais o Senhor Laurence Sterne diz terem: View all 13 comments.

To describe this late 18th century novel as being characterized by constant digressions, as is often done and even by Sterne himself , is probably inaccurate, since to digress implies that one has an ultimate goal in mind from which one is recurrently sidetracked. In that sense, his mind is like the minds of all of us, and we are invited To describe this late 18th century novel as being characterized by constant digressions, as is often done and even by Sterne himself , is probably inaccurate, since to digress implies that one has an ultimate goal in mind from which one is recurrently sidetracked.

In that sense, his mind is like the minds of all of us, and we are invited to watch its entertaining perambulations. Each is, over the course of the novel, developed wonderfully, becoming a well-rounded and unforgettable figure. Reading the work in e-book format is a bit of a challenge, since it is harder to jump around and refer back to material that may relate to a freshly addressed topic.