The Comic Art of Laurence Sterne (Heritage) (Paperback)

The Comic Art of Laurence Sterne (Heritage) By John M. Stedmond Cover Image

The Comic Art of Laurence Sterne (Heritage) (Paperback)


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Paradoxically, the name Sterne connotes both innovation and plagiarism; his writings are a strange mixture of the old and the next but this apparent incongruity helps to explain the nature of his comic art. His works show influences of Rabelais, Cervantes and Montaigne, at the same time foreshadowing modern developments in the "stream-of-consciousness" techniques of such writers as James Joyce, Thomas Mann and Virginia Woolf. In The Comic Art of Laurence Stern Professor Stedmond develops this theme of dichotomy and investigates some of the subtleties of Stern's complex and allusive method.

The central focus of the study is on Tristam Shandy as comedy and on Sterne's use of Tristram a clown narrator; other chapters are devoted to the genres to which Tristam Shandy is related, to analysis of style, the satiric as well as the comic elements, and to the significant connections between the Sermons of Mr. Yorick and A Sentimental Journey. The author skillfully examines these various conventions which provide the building material of Sterne's work, but his main theme is Sterne as a great comic writer primarily concerned with "the comedy of human effort at communication."

Everyone who likes the works of Laurence Sterne, both the scholar and the general reader, will enjoy this discerning appraisal of Stern's comic art.

John Stedmond is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Aberdeen. After teaching at both these universities, in 1958 he went to Queen's University, where he is at present Professor and Chairman of Graduate Studies in English. Professor Stedmond is a member of the newly formed Laurence Sterne Memorial Committee which is currently raising money for the Laurence Sterne Memorial Trust set up to purchase the freehold of Shandy Hall where Sterne lived and wrote from 1760 until his death in 1768.
Product Details ISBN: 9781487585501
ISBN-10: 1487585500
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication Date:
Pages: 188
Language: English
Series: Heritage