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LAURENCE STERNE



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LAURENCE STERNE

Laurence Sterne, the author of Tristram Shandy, was born in Ireland in 1713.He became famous when, at the age of 47, he published the first part of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy,a strange novel which mirrors the personality of its author. Sterne also wrote A Sentimental Journery Through France and Italy. His writings differ from the main stream of narrative of his time. He does not describe a series of characters connected with each other and does not often follow a logical sequence. He shows more interest in the analysis of human feelings and pays great attention to the minutest details. He seems not to give importance to what he is writing and lets his thoughts wander at large. But what makes Sterne great is the subtle humour, the irony and the smile which emerge from his es. He gives the reader a picture of what man can be when he is free from conventions and can give vent to his instincts, sentiments and feelings.

All these elements of novelty give to his novel the character of anti-novel. In particular the title which read Life and Opinions and not Life and Adventures as the convention dictated. The novel in fact does not deal with the adventures and events of Tristram Shandy’s life but with his mental life. And everything which is narrated in the novel is distorted by Tristram’s judgement and interpretation in spite of the fact that almost all of them belong to a time when the protagonist was not yet born. In other words the novel consists not only of a subjective narration, as the presence of a first person narrator indicates, but of the subjective narration of subjectively associated facts ideas and feelings. Time has a multeplicity of levels: the chronologicol time of events, the narrator’s time and the reader’s time. Another feature of the novel is the overt presence of the narratee who is often implicated by the narrator with his direct appeals such as “the reader”,”you” .Its syntax, its physical organization, its graphological aspect are characterised by an extreme eccentricity: the length of chapters varies from a few lines to several es; the punctuation mostly consists of dashes; there are blank es, black es, asterisks and even drawings.






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