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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of their own proper class into the very verge of another, which it gives me pain to write down—every third man a pigmy!—some by ricketty heads and hump backs—others by bandy legs—a third set arrested by the hand of Nature in the sixth and seventh years of their growth—a fourth, in their perfect and natural state, like dwarf apple-trees; from the first rudiments and stamina of their existence, never meant to grow higher. A medical traveller might say, ’tis owing to undue bandages—a splenetic one,
and well known to English travellers. Sterne stayed at hotels run by him in 1762 and 1765. A keen entrepreneur, Dessin profited from exchanging currency and renting chaises, and he thrived on the added fame SJ brought him (see Cash, L Y, p. 229). 13. many a peripatetic philosopher: Yorick drolly connects his own position as ‘travelling observer’ with the Aristotelian or peripatetic philosophical school (so called because of Aristotle’s practice of teaching while walking). 14. the efficient as
‘hotel’ are also used in SJ in the now common sense of a travellers’ lodging (which usage became familiar in English during the 1760s). 86. prevenancy: Willingness to oblige, charm. 87. maitre d’hotel: Steward of a town house (also the master of a hotel for travellers – see n. 85 above). 88. au desespoire: ‘In despair’. 89. en egards vis a vis d’une femme: ‘With regards to a woman’. 90. Quelle etourderie: ‘What thoughtlessness/carelessness!’ 91. par hazard: ‘By chance’; faux pas: ‘Mistake’.
girl of loose sexual morals. 101. buckle: Curl of hair. 102. mais prenez guarde: ‘But be careful’. 103. if tones and manners… shut them out: The legibility of the body and the body’s reliability as an index of meaning/character/the soul was a recurrent subject for Sterne (cf. especially TS, I.xxiii, pp. 59–60; III.iv, p. 132; IX.xiii, p. 517; and Sermons, p. 402). 104. Attendez: ‘Wait!’ 105. Eugenius: Usually regarded as a reference to the libertine and wit John Hall-Stevenson (1718–85), one
Brittany. 26. Monsieur Le Count… tumbling them over: Cf. Sterne’s meeting in 1762, described in a letter to Garrick: ‘ ’Twas an odd incident when I was introduced to the Count de Bissie, which I was at his desire—I found him reading Tristram—’ (Letters, p. 151). 27. et ayez la bontè… honneur la: ‘And have the goodness, my dear friend… to do me that honour’. 28. to spy the nakedness of the land: Cf. Genesis 42:9, where Joseph says to his brethren ‘Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land