Laurence Sterne : Contribution to Novel

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      Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) : was born at Clonmel, was educated at Cambridge, took orders, and obtained a living in Yorkshire (1738). His habits were decidedly unclerical, even though we judge them by the easy standard of the time. He temporarily left his living for London to publish the first two parts of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent (1760), which was completed in 1767. Then he toured abroad, returned to England to write his second novel, and died in London while visiting the city on business connected with the production of his book.

They are made up of Sterne's peculiar blend of pathos and humour, and, though the pathos is sometimes overdone to the point of becoming offensively sentimental, the humour is subtle and intellectual, and constantly surprises by the unusual forms in which it is found.
Laurence Sterne

      His two novels are The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent (1760-1767), which won him immediate recognition, and A Senti mental Journey through France and Italy (1768). Unique in English literature, they are the accurate reflection of the singular personality of their author. They are made up of Sterne's peculiar blend of pathos and humour, and, though the pathos is sometimes overdone to the point of becoming offensively sentimental, the humour is subtle and intellectual, and constantly surprises by the unusual forms in which it is found.

      Indeed, for many, Sterne is merely the eccentric who appealed to his own age by such unusual devices as a completely black page in the middle of his story: But his characters ard his chier claim to greatness, Basically, they are humorous, in the Jonsonian sense of the word, but they are built up with a subtle analysis of feeling that makes them life like and completely human. Perhaps the most famous of them are "my uncle Toby" and his Corporal Trim, but all Sterne's characters are minutely delineated, with a striking appreciation of the value of gesture and expression guides to personality. There is little story in these works, but they are written in a delicate, digressive style admirably suited to their subject matter.

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