An experimental novel far ahead of its time, "Tristram Shandy" was originally published from 1759 to 1767 in nine volumes. Shandy narrates the story of his life, beginning with his conception and diverting to his family, particularly his unconventional father Walter and his gentle Uncle Toby. Shandy cannot explain anything concisely, and Sterne utilizes many narrative devices to accommodate Shandy's digressions on countless subjects, especially human disconnection and his doubts about truly knowing himself. His disorderly account is rich in minor characters, especially Dr. Slop, Toby's servant Corporal Trim, and the parson Yorick. Despite being full of coarse humor and satire, Sterne's work was immediately and wildly popular in London, perhaps because it disregarded all the conventions of fiction, explored all of its potential, and dryly expressed its restrictions.
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January 01, 2013
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