Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy is irresistible. An extraordinary comic tour de force published over 250 years ago, it defies all attempts to categorize it: obscene, preposterous and infuriating, part novel, part free association, a crazy-quilt of bawdy humour and rich satire, its magnificently chaotic narrative interweaves the birth and life of the erstwhile "anti-hero" Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr. Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick.
A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of fiction, if you've ever sat spellbound listening to a witty, satirical, outrageous, digressive raconteur regaling you with endless stories about preposterous characters that lead nowhere but keep you hanging on every word, they learned their craft from Sterne.
It became a huge commercial success in the 1760s.
Sterne became a celebrity, and made a fortune, fulfilling a deep ambition, and establishing his fame and reputation throughout the world. "I wrote, not to be fed but to be famous," he once said.
*Tristram Shandy is ranked #6 in The Guardian’s list of 100 greatest novels of all time.
LAURENCE STERNE (1713–1768) was an Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy.