A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

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Alan Rodgers Books, Nov 1, 2005 - Fiction - 108 pages
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CALAIS

When I had fished my dinner, and drank the King of France's health, to satisfy my mind that I bore him no spleen, but, on the contrary, high honor for the humanity of his temper, -- I rose up an inch taller for the accommodation.

-- No -- said I -- the Bourbon is by no means a cruel race: they may be misled, like other people; but there is a mildness in their blood. As I acknowledged this, I felt a suffusion of a finer kind upon my cheek -- more warm and friendly to man, than what Burgundy (at least of two livres a bottle, which was such as I had been drinking) could have produced.

-- Just God! said I, kicking my portmanteau aside, what is there in this world's goods which should sharpen our spirits, and make so many kind-hearted brethren of us fall out so cruelly as we do by the way?

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Contents

Section 1
6
Section 2
14
Section 3
15

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About the author (2005)

If Fielding showed that the novel (like the traditional epic or drama) could make the chaos of life coherent in art, Sterne only a few years later in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760--67) laughed away the notion of order. In Sterne's world, people are sealed off in their own minds so that only in unpredictable moments of spontaneous feeling are they aware of another human being. Reviewers attacked the obscenity of Tristram's imagined autobiography as it was published (two volumes each in 1759, early 1761, late 1761, 1765, and one in 1767), particularly when the author revealed himself as a clergyman, but the presses teemed with imitations of this great literary hit of the 1760s. Through the mind of the eccentric hero, Sterne subverted accepted ideas on conception, birth, childhood, education, and the contemplation of maturity and death, so that Tristram's concerns touched his contemporaries and are still important. Since Tristram Shandy is patently a great and lasting comic work that yet seems, as E. M. Forster said, "ruled by the Great God Muddle," much recent criticism has centered on the question of its unity or lack of it; and its manipulation of time and of mental processes has been considered particularly relevant to the problems of fiction in our day. Sterne's Sentimental Journey (1768) has been immensely admired by some critics for its superb tonal balance of irony and sentiment. His Sermons of Mr. Yorick (1760) catches the spirit of its time by dramatically preaching benevolence and sympathy as superior to doctrine. Whether as Tristram or as Yorick, Sterne is probably the most memorably personal voice in eighteenth-century fiction.

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