A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics)
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'Love is nothing without feeling. And feeling is still less without love.'
Celebrated in its own day as the progenitor of 'a school of sentimental writers', A Sentimental Journey (1768) has outlasted its many imitators because of the humour and mischievous eroticism that inform Mr Yorick's travels. Setting out to journey to France and Italy he gets little further than Lyons but finds much to appreciate, in contrast to contemporary travel writers whom Sterne satirizes in the figures of Smelfungus and Mundungus. A master of ambiguity and double entendre, Sterne is nevertheless as concerned as his peers with exploring the nature of virtue; unlike other writers of sentimental fiction Sterne insists on the inseparability of desire and feeling.
This new edition includes a selection from The Sermons of Mr Yorick, which shed light on the concerns of the Journey, The Journal to Eliza, which records Sterne's feelings as he languishes for the company of Eliza Draper, and A Political Romance, the satire on a local ecclesiastical squabble that was the catalyst for Sterne's literary career.
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events. As Sterne was writing the work, he assured his bookseller Thomas Becket that his latest offering was ‘ likely to take in all Kinds of Readers’2 – A Sentimental Journey has succeeded in doing exactly that. Sterne’s Literary Career and His Fictional Guises3 A Sentimental Journey was Sterne’s second and final major work of fiction, written in his last year and cut short by his death. It was the work of a man who had already made his name as an author and had gained a reputation for a
I saw a tear fall upon the place: I could not be deceived by what followed. ‘I shall find, said he, some other way, to get it off’ When the Marquis had said this, he return’d his sword into its scabbard, made a bow to the guardians of it—and, with his wife and daughter and his two sons following him, walk’d out. O how I envied him his feelings! THE PASSPORT. VERSASILLES. I FOUND no difficulty in getting admittance to Monsieur Le Count de B****. The set of Shakespears was laid upon the
‘Boxes’; perdu: ‘Hidden’. 125. Quelle grossierte: ‘What rudeness!’ 126. Le pour, et le contre se trouvent en chaque nation: ‘The good and the bad are found in every nation’. 127. sçavoir vivre: ‘social know-how’. 128. Madame de Rambouliet: Perhaps playfully recalling Catherine de Vivonne (1588–1665), Marquise de Rambouillet, a leading précieuse (see n. 5 above) whose salon was celebrated as a centre of fashionable manners and politeness. 129. Rien que pisser: ‘Nothing but to piss’. The
English gentlemen are very extraordinary people’. 11. Disguise thyself… on that account: Cf. Sterne’s sermon 10: ‘Consider slavery what it is, how bitter a draught, and how many millions have been made to drink of it’ (Sermons, p. 99). In 1766, Ignatius Sancho, a freed African slave, wrote to Sterne quoting and praising this passage of the sermon. He urged Sterne to address the issue further, believing Sterne’s writing might ‘ease the Yoke of many’ (Letters, pp. 282–3). Sterne replied expressing
jaunty’. 90. Pardi!… enfant: ‘Of course! This Mr Yorick has just as much wit as the rest of us. —He reasons well,…– He’s a good fellow.’ 91. poor Maria… Moulines: See TS, IX.xxiv. pp. 528–30. The pathos of the Maria episodes in both works was greatly admired by manyearly readers and the character became something of a sentimental icon. Maria appeared in numerous spin-offs: the episodes were reproduced in The Beauties of Sterne(1782) and in Sterne’s Maria; A Pathetic Story (containing a spurious