Tristram Shandy Author:Laurence Sterne Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy is an epic of eighteenth-century Yorkshire life, and perhaps the most capriciously written classic of all time. On the surface this delightfully delirious book has no apparent order. A sentence forms a chapter; chapters begin, are broken off, or even vanish completely, only to reappear in unnumerical sequence la... more »ter on.
But beneath this deceptive facade of aimless frivolity is a carefully prepared design, subtle in style and brilliant in execution. In the persons of Mr. Shandy, retired merchant and student of philosophy, and of Uncle Toby, veteran of King William's War and a simple-minded sentimentalist, Sterne has created two memorable characters as clearly defined as any in literature. The one is abstractly intellectual, the other impressionably emotional. Between these two extremes is embodied the sum of human nature. Their diligent discussions on such unprofound topics as short and long noses, the art of cursing, and the influence that names exert upon personality are masterpieces of droll humour in the vein of Rabelais and Cervantes.« less