Tag: Laurence Sterne

Laurence Sterne in the printer’s shop

August 18, 2023 0 Comments
Laurence Sterne in the printer’s shop

Any reader of Tristram Shandy soon appreciates that its author had an unusually strong interest in the physical appearance of his books, and specifically in playing with the conventions of the printed word.  The ‘star witnesses’ are the Black Page, inserted to mark the sad death of Parson Yorick, the Marbled Page (unique in each […]

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Anti-metropolitanism, 1759

May 19, 2023 0 Comments
Anti-metropolitanism, 1759

In Volume I, Chapter XVIII of Laurence Sterne’s great novel, Tristram Shandy’s mother, as soon as she finds out she’s expecting him, absolutely insists that, when the time comes to give birth, she will be attended by no one but the old midwife who lives in the neighbourhood of Shandy Hall – even though within […]

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‘Zounds!’: Tristram Shandy’s rude bits

August 6, 2021 0 Comments
‘Zounds!’:  Tristram Shandy’s rude bits

In the gallery at Shandy Hall at the moment is an exhibition of ingenious ceramics by Katrin Moye.  Entitled Filthy trash, it takes its inspiration from an aspect of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy that’s obvious, but often skated over by scholars more interested in its grander themes, like time, digression and reflexivity – its sly […]

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Walters: gwallter’s top 10

May 14, 2021 3 Comments
Walters: gwallter’s top 10

Walter was already an old-fashioned forename in 1952, when my parents donated it to me.  To be fair, they were anxious about the commonness of my surname, and eager to load me with as many other names as they could, to avoid misidentification (later, my brother suffered the same fate).  By the time they reached […]

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Chaos describ’d

June 19, 2020 0 Comments
Chaos describ’d

These days chaos as a concept has been captured by mathematics and physics. (Sometimes it gets re-exported to the popular imagination through tropes like the butterfly effect.)  But before that it was available to anyone.  It was especially attractive to philosophers, theologians and mystics, and to creative people like writers and artists. Chaos has always […]

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Lying diagonally in bed

January 18, 2019 0 Comments
Lying diagonally in bed

Book 6 of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy contains an insight that few, if any, novels – or indeed any works of non-fiction – published before or since, have achieved. In chapter 39, a message reaches the house of Tristram’s parents that Uncle Toby, his father’s brother, a veteran injured in the groin in the siege […]

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Allies against slavery: Ignatius Sancho and Laurence Sterne

January 6, 2019 4 Comments
Allies against slavery: Ignatius Sancho and Laurence Sterne

Ignatius Sancho was one of the most prominent black Britons of the eighteenth century – and without doubt the most multi-talented.  Born in Africa, according to his own account (or on board ship, according to his biographer, Joseph Jekyll), he was shipped across the Atlantic to be a slave in the Spanish colony of New […]

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An unusual will: Laurence Sterne’s ‘The fragment’

December 28, 2018 3 Comments
An unusual will: Laurence Sterne’s ‘The fragment’

As far as I know, my father produced only one publication.  Its title was Notes on making a will and it was a pamphlet of just four pages (a single leaf folded with a white card cover).  The publisher, according to the cover, was ‘Bury & Walkers, Solicitors, Barnsley, Wombwell & Leeds’ (Dad was a […]

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Shandy Hall and the Auxerre moment

August 30, 2015 0 Comments
Shandy Hall and the Auxerre moment

Shandy Hall is a house almost as eccentric as the mind of its once owner, Laurence Sterne, vicar of Coxwold and author of The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy. One of the highlights of the summer was a tour of the inside of the building in the company of its curator, Patrick Wildgust. My […]

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The overcoat

February 5, 2014 1 Comment
The overcoat

I was sitting reading in the front room yesterday when a sharp rap on the window made me jump.  A man stood at the door.   Only the sharp features of his face were visible; the rest of his body was protected from the cold wind and rain by a thick shell of industrial yellow.  Behind […]

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