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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy,…

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

by Laurence Sterne

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,427951,039 (3.91)5 / 434
Introduction and Notes by Robert Folkenflik Rich in playful double entendres, digressions, formal oddities, and typographical experiments, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman "provoked a literary sensation when it first appeared in England in a series of volumes from 1759 to 1767. An ingeniously structured novel (about writing a novel) that fascinates like a verbal game of chess, "Tristram Shandy "is the most protean and playful English novel of the eighteenth century and a celebration of the art of fiction; its inventiveness anticipates the work of Joyce, Rushdie, and Fuentes in our own century. This Modern Library Paperback is set from the nine-volume first edition from 1759.… (more)
  1. 50
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Cecrow, ateolf)
    Cecrow: Spanish tale laced with humour, predates TS by 150 years.
  2. 20
    Jacques the Fatalist by Denis Diderot (fvenez)
  3. 31
    Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais (ateolf)
  4. 31
    Ulysses by James Joyce (henkl, roby72)
  5. 20
    Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (Widsith)
    Widsith: The obvious companion book...funnier but less story-driven
  6. 10
    Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (roby72)
  7. 10
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (laurapickle)
    laurapickle: Midnight's Children borrows much from Sterne (as well as many other novels!), reworking it into his Booker winning novel.
  8. 00
    A Tale of A Tub by Jonathan Swift (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Earlier influential work of satire, that also indulged in digression and lost its narrative.
  9. 00
    Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (uri-starkey)
  10. 00
    Epitaph of a Small Winner by Machado de Assis (DieFledermaus)
  11. 00
    My Brother Was an Only Child by Jack Douglas (Bill-once)
    Bill-once: Sterne's work and style subtly suffuse Douglas'

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English (92)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
A book that has been sitting on my shelf for too long. I started listening to the audio version of it (couldn't get into the paper version).
And that one I also gave up on.
The book seems to go nowhere, the narrative just passes my ears and leaves no trace whatsoever, the narrator doesn't have a nice voice to listen to... I gave it 5+ hours of listening, but enough is enough. I give up!
  BoekenTrol71 | May 21, 2020 |
Silliness. Stuff and nonsense.
Inspired, metatextual, unbeatable silliness. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
One of my favorite books of all time, and certainly one of the funniest. I first read this and grad school, and just read it while quarantined for the coronavirus pandemic. It was the perfect way to escape from anxiety. Sterne's bawdy puns, his constant digressions, his deep devotion to trivia, are completely intoxicating. I love this book. ( )
  jalbacutler | Apr 22, 2020 |
2 vols. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
Trim, Uncle Toby, Tristram, Obadiah, Susannah and the author's father occupy the many pages of this meandering tale. Everything digresses or moves off as the fancy strikes the author, reminding him of something else that should be discussed first. It made me laugh out loud. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (94 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sterne, LaurenceAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Austen, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cleland, T. M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corinth, LovisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, LindseyForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, BergenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesser, AntonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levi, CarloContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marías, JavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melchiori, GiorgioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meo, AntonioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morley, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
New, JoanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
New, MelvynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petrie, GrahamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phelps, GilbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Portela, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Priestley, J.B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricks, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, James K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Self, WillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watt, IanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheelwright, RowlandIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Work, James A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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ταρασσει τους ἀνθρωπους οὐ τα πραγματα ἀλλα τα περι των πραγματων δογματα.

What stresses mankind is not things, but opinions about things --- Epictetus
To the Right Honourable Mr. Pitt.


Never poor Wight of a Dedicator had less hopes from his Dedication, than I have from this of mine; for it is written in a bye corner of the kingdom, and in a retir'd thatch'd house, where I live in a constant endeavour to fence against the infirmities of ill health, and other evils of life, by mirth; being firmly persuaded that every time a man smiles,—but much more so, when he laughs, it adds something to this Fragment of Life.

I humbly beg, Sir, that you will honour this book, by taking it—(not under your Protection,—it must protect itself, but)—into the country with you; where, if I am ever told, it has made you smile; or can conceive it has beguiled you of one moment's pain—I shall think myself as happy as a minister of state;—perhaps much happier than any one (one only excepted) that I have read or heard of.

I am, Great Sir, (and, what is more to your Honour) I am, Good Sir, Your
Well-wisher, and most humble Fellow-subject,

The Author.
First words
"I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing; - that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind; - and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost: ---Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly, ---I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world from that in which the reader is likely to see me."
and so long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King's highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him, - pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?
What is best to take out the fire? ... If it is in a tender part, and a part which can conveniently be wrapt up ... Send to the next printer, and trust your cure to a soft sheet of paper just come off the press - you need do nothing more than twist it round. - The damp paper has a refreshing coolness in it - and the oil and lamp-black with which the paper is so strongly impregnated, does the business.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the original work by Laurence Sterne, not the graphic novel adaptation/commentary by Martin Rowson. It should not be combined with the Norton Critical Edition, nor with single volumes of a two or three volume set.
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1908 German edition available online at The Hathi Trust:
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439777, 0141199997

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