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A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

Laurence Sterne

Book Overview: 

After the bizarre textual antics of "Tristram Shandy", this book would seem to require a literary health warning. Sure enough, it opens in mid-conversation upon a subject never explained; meanders after a fashion through a hundred pages, then fizzles out in mid-sentence - so, a plotless novel lacking a beginning, a middle or an end. Let us say: an exercise in the infinitely comic.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .If I had - (she stopped a moment) - I believe your good will would have drawn a story from me, which would have made pity the only dangerous thing in the journey.

In saying this, she suffered me to kiss her hand twice, and with a look of sensibility mixed with concern, she got out of the chaise, - and bid adieu.


I never finished a twelve guinea bargain so expeditiously in my life: my time seemed heavy, upon the loss of the lady, and knowing every moment of it would be as two, till I put myself into motion, - I ordered post horses directly, and walked towards the hotel.

Lord! said I, hearing the town clock strike four, and recollecting that I had been little more than a single hour in Calais, -

- What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in every thing, and who, having eyes to see what time and chance are perpetually holding out to him a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Written in the rambling, laconic but clearly deliberate and perfectly modulated style which Sterne got down to a fine art in ‘Tristram Shandy’, ‘A Sentimental Journey’ is the loose journal of the lonely and very English Parson Yorick on a trip through France in the mid-Eighteenth century.

The book is

For those curious as to Sterne’s “other thing” besides Tristram Shandy, let me make it clear: no, this is not another spearheading postmodern masterpiece. This is a vicaresque (ha—see what I did there?) travelogue narrated by the curious Yorick, a man of questionable virtue. The chapters are bitesiz

I hadn’t read any Sterne for years, but revisiting A Sentimental Journey reminded me of how hilarious he is, and how sophisticated and experimental. It’s salutary, as always, to remember quite how postmodern premodern literature can be.

The book was Sterne’s last, published less than a month before

When I read the negative reviews of this book, I have to guess that people just didn't get it. It's very funny. It's about an upper class young man's erotic adventures in France. He writes as if he's very chaste, but he keeps finding himself in compromising situations with beautiful women and he fa

“There are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman’s pulse.”
- Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey

Published literally RIGHT before poor Sterne died, this short (and well-received) book is basically a fake travelogue through France and Italy. Yorick plays the part of Sterne's alter-ego

Orhan Pamuk, Tristram Shandy'nin önsözünde Tristram için herkesin böyle bir amcası olmalı yazmıştı. Görüyor ve herkesin Yorick gibi bir yol arkadaşı olmalı diyerek arttırıyorum. Laurence Sterne'in daha Tristram Shandy'yi bitiremeden ölüp gitmesini sindirememişken, bitiremediği ikinci bir kitabı okum

Whether modern or old, the edition of a book is important. I am very fussy and perhaps even sentimental about this. For me a book is a physical object to be cherished for its sheer physicality as much as for its sentiment and sense. My first choice for A Sentimental Journey is the Oxford World's Cla

This novel is based on a trip that Sterne took in 1765 through France and Italy. How much is true and how much is fiction is uncertain, but after reading it I suspect it is mostly fiction. It's quixotic in nature and structure, but Sterne's episodic tales of Yorick, a British clergyman, fall well sh

The only novel I know where the author purposedly omitted the last word. And that word, if I may so delicately disclose, is CUNT. Or the equivalent old slang term they use for it when this was first published in 1768: CASE. As in:

"His Pego measur'd to the Female Case,
"Betwixt a Woman's Thighs his pr

This is pure character-driven, plotless fun. It's a travel tale in which the first-person narrator drifts from incident to incident and it is always the idiosyncratic power of his voice that carries us along. The text is not easy, loaded with archaisms and French expressions as it is. Light readers

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