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Dodsley and dated 17 respectively; volumes 3 and 4 are 'a new edition', printed in 1769 by Dodsley; volume 5 is of the second edition, printed by T. Until producing his masterpiece, Sterne had only dabbled in writing, publishing a few sermons and a satire entitled A Political Romance. It has been estimated that Sterne had to sign his name an incredible 12,750 times to achieve this. After attending Cambridge University, he was ordained and settled in Yorkshire where he spent some twenty years as an Anglican priest.
No one description will fit this strange, eccentric, endlessly complex masterpiece.
It is a fiction about fiction-writing in which the invented world is as much infused with wit and genius as the theme of inventing it.
William Hogarth (1697-1764), the artist now chiefly remembered for his satiric engravings, was commissioned to design two plates to be used as frontispieces in two of the volumes.
One depicts Corporal Trim reading a sermon on conscience to the sleeping Dr Slop, Uncle Toby, and Walter Shandy, and the other (shown to the left), the baptism of Tristram.
Laurence Sterne's great comic novel, Tristram Shandy, was originally published between 17 in nine small separate volumes, the last appearing shortly before Sterne's death. Dehondt in 1769; volumes 7, 8 and 9, lastly, are of the first edition, printed for T. He married in 1741, but the union was not a happy one.
Our set constitutes a copy made-up from several of the early editions: volumes 1 and 2 are of the seventh edition, printed for J. Dehondt in 1767; volume 6 is again from the 'new edition' , although printed by T. In fact, he began writing Tristram Shandy in his 47th year during a period of great personal unhappiness while his wife was suffering a nervous breakdown.[Anon.]Vol.1 of the Third edition London, 1760: Sp Coll Hunterian Db.3.40; A sentimental journey through France and Italy. Yorick New edition London, 1770: Sp Coll BC13-b.5-6; A sentimental journey through France and Italy. Yorick London, 1784: Sp Coll NO.9.25 and Sp Coll Bo10-g.24; A sentimental journey through France and Italy. Yorick with 6 plates London, 1792: Sp Coll BG46-l.4; Sermons Vols 5-7 London, 1769: Sp Coll Bo4-k.19-21; The works of Laurence Sterne ... To which is prefixed, an account of the life and writings of the author with portrait and 2 plates London, 1775 Sp Coll Bo2-m.23-29; The beauties of Sterne; including many of his letters and sermons, all his pathetic tales, humorous descriptions, and most distinguished observations on life ... To which are prefixed, memoirs of his life and family. (Vol.7 wanting) Dublin, 1774: Sp Coll 127-132; The works of Laurence Sterne, A. London, 1793: Sp Coll 937; Letters of the late Rev. The first two volumes of the novel were a great success and made Sterne famous throughout Europe.As well as producing the further volumes of the tale, Sterne cashed in on his success by publishing 2 volumes of sermons attributed to Parson Yorick, the minister mentioned in the opening volume of Tristram; drawing on his experiences as a priest, Yorick is said to be a veiled self portrait of the author.However, he has so much to relate about his eccentric family that he does not manage to get born until the 4th volume.Realizing, finally, that his task is hopeless - it taking him more time to tell the story than to live his life - the novel ends by concluding that its readers have been taken in by a cock and bull story.The peculiarities of the book are such that examining the originals are crucial to a real understanding of the startling originality of the text, with its intimate interweaving of verbal and visual elements.Sterne saw each volume through the press himself, despite having to travel to London from Yorkshire.Each text page is characterised by an intricate system of hyphens, dashes, asterisks, and occasional crosses; remarkable use is particularly made of the dash - varying in length, these are often treated as though they were words, while the small type area and generous spacing and margins of the original volumes emphasise their visibility.But more unusual than a playfulness with fonts is Sterne's frequent manipulation of the page: typical is the blank page shown here where the reader is invited to interact with the book and draw his own portrait of the Widow Wadman.