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Tristram Shandy (Norton Critical Editions)…
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Tristram Shandy (Norton Critical Editions) (edição 1980)

por Laurence Sterne (Autor), Howard Anderson (Editor)

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320460,986 (4.3)57
Obvious errors have been corrected, but most of the conventions of eighteenth-century printing and all of Sterne's brilliant exploitations and expansions of those conventions have been retained. Background information includes a chronology of Sterne's life and comments from his letters pertaining to the composition of the novel and to his theory of fiction. Responses by Sterne's contemporaries--among them Walpole, Goldsmith, Richardson, and Johnson--begin the selection of critical materials. Early-nineteenth-century assessments by Coleridge, Hazlitt, Scott, and Thackeray are followed by twentieth-century critical essays by Lodwick Hartley, D. W. Jefferson, Toby A. Olshin, Wayne Booth, William Bowman Piper, Martin Price, Jean Jacques Mayoux, Richard A. Lanham, Sigurd Burkhardt, J. Paul Hunter, Charles Parish, and Howard Anderson.… (mais)
Membro:ajtindall
Título:Tristram Shandy (Norton Critical Editions)
Autores:Laurence Sterne (Autor)
Outros autores:Howard Anderson (Editor)
Informação:W. W. Norton & Company (1980), Edition: 1st Edition, 650 pages
Colecções:Fiction & Philosophy Shelf, A sua biblioteca
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Tristram Shandy [Norton Critical Edition] por Laurence Sterne

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I struggled to read Tristram Shandy, as most of the time I felt out of tune with Laurence Sterne's world. When I had finished I felt as though I had merely skimmed it's pages and so my thoughts on my reading experience are impressionistic at best.

"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"

And so the book starts, but it takes another 170 pages before we get to Tristram's birth as Sterne launches into one digression after another. Is he ever going to tell his story the reader wonders and I think that is the point, because Sterne is a master of manipulation. The book does not merely contain authorial interventions it is for the most part completely made up of them: Sterne explains;

"Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine - they are the life, the soul of reading; - take them out of this book for instance, - you might as well take the book along with them; - one cold eternal winter would reign in every part of it; restore them to the writer; - he steps forth like a bridegroom, bids All hail; brings in variety, and forbids the appetite to fail"

While we are waiting for Sterne to get on with the story of Tristram, we have Sterne telling us how his book should be read, musing over his difficulties, wondering aloud as to which bits of the story should go where, providing us with tantalising glimpses of what he will write in future volumes, or changing his mind as he launches into yet another story. I have used the word manipulation to describe Sterne's style and I could not help feeling that Sterne, as the arch manipulator was having a grand joke at the expense of his readers. We are either fools or cretins or we are of sufficient intellect to appreciate Sterne's grand design. Whether there is a grand design in Sterne's novel has been the subject of much debate and I can imagine Sterne chuckling to himself knowing he was setting hares running that would run for centuries. He would not be disappointed.

Around the time of it's publication there was much debate about its bawdiness (not considered suitable for ladies to read?) and while much of the story is centered around ideas of impotency; Uncle Toby's war wound in his groin that takes three years to heal and his subesequent amors with the Widow Wadman and Tristram's circumcision by a falling sash window, Sterne takes his readers around such a circutious route that we are never really sure what is bawdy and what is not. The classic example is the chapter on noses. The way Sterne writes about the advantages of large noses; this reader could not help thinking of penis and Sterne knows exactly what he is doing because he says:

" by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every part of this work, where the word Nose occurs, - I declare, by the word I mean a Nose, and nothing more or less .

I believe that the reason I appeared to miss so much from this first reading is my lack of knowledge of 18th century literature, while I can appreciate the nods towards Rabelais writing a century and a half earlier I struggled with references to Locke and other writers and thinkers of the period. Reading Tristram just for the funny bits is a frustrating experience especially when you are not sure if the joke is on you. Sterne's characters however are engaging; Uncle Toby and his hobby horse, his faithful servant Corporal Trim, the unfortunate Yorrick, Dr Slop, Obadiah and the rest of the Shandy family come to life in these pages. There were passages where I was engaged, but there were many passages where I was a little bored.

The Norton Critical edition contains much literary criticism. It would appear that there were favourable reviews when it was published with many writers appreciating the unique reading experience that it provided. It was championed by Coleridge and the Romantics, generally despised by the Victorians and Edwardians and today is recognised as a classic. It has many imitators and it's similarity to a kind of stream of consciouness technique has made it a protean work in the genre. The criticsm is generally of a high standard, with many reviwers tying themselves in knots attempting to explain the grand design.

I will re-read Tristram Shandy as being forewarned is definitely fore-armed when approaching this book. I rate it at 3.5 stars, but I think there is a 5 star book in there waiting for my next read. ( )
8 vote baswood | Mar 16, 2014 |
This is hilarious, freewheeling, and very experimental and risque for its time. Plays fast and loose with narrative, self-reflexiveness, and even mixed-media, and is just loaded with bawdy innuendo, but is also very compassionate and humanistic. Think great satire in the tradition of Swift, and Twain, coupled with a confessional style a la Rousseau(only much more self-effacing than he, fortunately.) It’s a bit of a tough sled due to the archaic language and phrasing, but the screamingly funny bits every five pages or so make it worth slogging onward. ( )
1 vote jddunn | Nov 13, 2010 |
I started this in grad school, but quickly realized I did not have the time to devote to this complex novel. When I heard they were about to release a movie about filming TS, I pulled it down and read it through.
I found it delightful and funny, and even hilarious in places. I am amazed that a 340-year-old novel could be so modern. This is definitely one I will return to soon. Has anyone seen the movie yet? ( )
  rmckeown | May 20, 2006 |
The book sbegins with birth and ends, hundreds of pages and innumerable silly tricks and digressions later. My big brother Cris turned me on to this book when I was a kid. I didn't totally get it, but when I encountered it again in college, I was better prepared and found it even more fun. (Thanks, Cris!) There's one page left all black, one that features the squiggly line in which a character waves his cane, long tracts of what seems sheer gibberish -- what a joy when contrasted with the wordy drudge of, say, "Clarissa."

-----
(Later addition:)
I just saw the 2006 movie, which itself is a great joy, and was inspired to dig up this book and re-read it. ( )
  wenestvedt | Oct 8, 2005 |
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Obvious errors have been corrected, but most of the conventions of eighteenth-century printing and all of Sterne's brilliant exploitations and expansions of those conventions have been retained. Background information includes a chronology of Sterne's life and comments from his letters pertaining to the composition of the novel and to his theory of fiction. Responses by Sterne's contemporaries--among them Walpole, Goldsmith, Richardson, and Johnson--begin the selection of critical materials. Early-nineteenth-century assessments by Coleridge, Hazlitt, Scott, and Thackeray are followed by twentieth-century critical essays by Lodwick Hartley, D. W. Jefferson, Toby A. Olshin, Wayne Booth, William Bowman Piper, Martin Price, Jean Jacques Mayoux, Richard A. Lanham, Sigurd Burkhardt, J. Paul Hunter, Charles Parish, and Howard Anderson.

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