Sterne, the Moderns, and the Novel

Hardcover | November 1, 2002

byThomas Keymer

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Thomas Keymer is a 2011 Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada.The author of Tristram Shandy (1759-67) is often seen as an anachronism - a belated exponent of learned-wit satire whose kinship is with Montaigne, or a proto-modernist whose narrative pyrotechnics anticipate Joyce. Yet to many contemporaries Sterne's writing was emphatically of its immediate time,a voguish compound of all things modern that seemed to typify, if not indeed constitute, a 'Shandy-Age'.In this historicizing study, Thomas Keymer demonstrates the self-conscious imbrication of Tristram Shandy in the diverse literary culture of its extended moment. Not only absorbing but also updating Swift's Tale of a Tub, Sterne's text turns the satirical resources of Scriblerian writing on thepost-Scriblerian literary marketplace, and above all on that quintessentially modern genre, the novel itself. For all its anticipation of later trends, his play on narrative representation, linguistic indeterminacy, the unruliness of reading and the materiality of text turns out to be firmlygrounded in the conventions and tropes of mid-eighteenth-century fiction. Through the mechanisms of improvisatory serialization, Sterne could also engage with other new texts and trends as they continued to emerge, including 'Nonsense Club' satire, the Ossianic vogue, and debates about the SevenYears War.

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Thomas Keymer is a 2011 Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada.The author of Tristram Shandy (1759-67) is often seen as an anachronism - a belated exponent of learned-wit satire whose kinship is with Montaigne, or a proto-modernist whose narrative pyrotechnics anticipate Joyce. Yet to many contemporaries Sterne's writing was emphaticall...

Thomas Keymer is a Chancellor Jackman Professor of English at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Richardson's Clarissa and the Eighteenth-Century Reader (CUP 1992); editor of Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings (Everyman 1994), Henry Fielding's The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (Penguin 1996); and c...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:236 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.71 inPublished:November 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199245924

ISBN - 13:9780199245925

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Table of Contents

List of illustrationsList of abbreviationsIntroductionI. Narrative Discourse and Print Culture from Pamela to Tristram Shandy1. Sterne and the 'new species of writing'2. Novels, print, and meaningII. The Serialization of Tristram Shandy3. The practice and poetics of serial fiction4. Serializing a selfIII. Sterne in the literary culture of the 1760s5. Tristram Shandy and the freshest moderns6. The literature of Whiggism and the politics of war

Editorial Reviews

`...eloquent testimony to the ways in which mid-seventeeth-century disturbances continued to stir mid-eighteenth-century texts.' Studies in English Literature