The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Publication Date: May 2003
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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.
About the AuthorIrish-born Laurence Sterne was an eighteenth century English author and Anglican clergyman. Though he is perhaps best known as a novelist, Sterne also wrote memoirs, articles on local politics, and a large number of sermons for which he was quite well known during his lifetime. Sterne s works include The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, and the satire A Political Romance (also known as The History of a Good Warm Watch-Coat). Sterne died in 1768 at the age of 54.
Melvyn New is Professor of English, University of Florida, and General Editor of the Florida Edition of "The Works of Laurence Sterne".