The Complete Works and Life of Laurence Sterne, Volume 6

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Clonmel Society, 1904
 

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Page 210 - France already — and I know not the woman I should like so well for her substitute as yourself. 'Tis true, I am ninety-five in constitution, and you but twenty-five; rather too great a disparity this!
Page 328 - Rome, we skim the cream of other men's wits, pick the choice flowers of their tilled gardens, to set out our own sterile plots. We weave the same web, still twist the same rope again and again.
Page 252 - tis a land of plenty. I sit down alone to venison, fish and wild fowl, or a couple of fowls or ducks, with curds, and strawberries, and cream, and all the simple plenty which a rich valley (under Hamilton Hills) can produce — with a clean cloth on my table — and a bottle of wine on my right hand to drink your health. I have a hundred hens and chickens about my yard — and not a parishioner catches a hare, or a rabbit or a trout, but he brings it as an offering to me.
Page 331 - Soften'd his spirit) look'd and lay, Watching the rosy infant's play : Though still, whene'er his eye by chance Fell on the boy's, its lurid glance Met that unclouded joyous gaze, As torches, that have...
Page 265 - I can answer for those two. It is a subject which works well, and suits the frame of mind I have been in for some time past — I told you my design in it was to teach us to love the world and our fellow-creatures better than we do — so it runs most upon those gentler passions and affections, which aid so much to it.
Page 39 - Sutton — and at York I became acquainted with your mother, and courted her for two years — she owned she liked me, but thought herself not rich enough, or me too poor, to be joined together...
Page 260 - Bookseller's purpose, as Yorick's name is possibly of the two the more known ; — and the second will ease the minds of those who see a jest, and the danger which lurks under it, where no jest was meant.
Page 93 - I was within an ace of setting up my hobby-horse in her stable for good and all. I might as well, considering how the enemies of the Lord have blasphemed thereupon.
Page 145 - I walked up gravely to the window in my dusty black coat, and looking through the glass saw all the world in yellow, blue, and green, running at the ring of pleasure.
Page 16 - ... remained there. I, one unlucky day, mounted it, and wrote with a brush, in large capital letters, LAU. STERNE, for which the usher severely whipped me. My master was very much hurt at this, and said, before me, that never should that name be effaced, for I was a boy of genius, and he was sure I should come to preferment. This expression made me forget the stripes I had received.

About the author (1904)

If Fielding showed that the novel (like the traditional epic or drama) could make the chaos of life coherent in art, Sterne only a few years later in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760--67) laughed away the notion of order. In Sterne's world, people are sealed off in their own minds so that only in unpredictable moments of spontaneous feeling are they aware of another human being. Reviewers attacked the obscenity of Tristram's imagined autobiography as it was published (two volumes each in 1759, early 1761, late 1761, 1765, and one in 1767), particularly when the author revealed himself as a clergyman, but the presses teemed with imitations of this great literary hit of the 1760s. Through the mind of the eccentric hero, Sterne subverted accepted ideas on conception, birth, childhood, education, and the contemplation of maturity and death, so that Tristram's concerns touched his contemporaries and are still important. Since Tristram Shandy is patently a great and lasting comic work that yet seems, as E. M. Forster said, "ruled by the Great God Muddle," much recent criticism has centered on the question of its unity or lack of it; and its manipulation of time and of mental processes has been considered particularly relevant to the problems of fiction in our day. Sterne's Sentimental Journey (1768) has been immensely admired by some critics for its superb tonal balance of irony and sentiment. His Sermons of Mr. Yorick (1760) catches the spirit of its time by dramatically preaching benevolence and sympathy as superior to doctrine. Whether as Tristram or as Yorick, Sterne is probably the most memorably personal voice in eighteenth-century fiction.

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