One of the novels I missed off my classics-to-be-read list was Tristram Shandy. Yes, I never have read it – though, having now got under way and since I’ve previously read A Sentimental Journey (which has the same basic joke), in some ways I might as well have claimed to have read it.
Thoughts so far, having read Book I:
- I know Sterne’s influence is vast: – metafiction, modernism and all; – but if there’s one other writer who comes out of these pages, then it’s – Dickens. – Perhaps it’s just that he seems to have stolen many of Sterne’s jokes. – But perhaps some of you won’t understand the above claim (or my even more heterodox claim, that there’s often no-one Faulkner reminds me more of than Dickens) [ed. the rest of this point was deleted because the ideas were too good to waste on a booksblog like this].
- I’ve forgotten my second point now. [ed. Oh yes, I remember: – I have two interests actually in reading Sterne – aside, that is, from merely reading Sterne. a) to read some other books that were heavily influenced by Sterne (mostly with titles beginning, “The Life and Opinions of…”; and b) to read some other books which apparently influenced Sterne. ( – What’s that you say? – But surely Sterne, if no one else, was an original writer! – Where will this ever end, if we keep going backwards in time?) – Not merely Cervantes, who has been much mentioned so far in the text, but I’ve got a few other ideas which I’ve picked up here and there – books by writers who are not so well known these days)]
Well, back to reading. – Maybe Tristram Shandy will actually be born soon, eh?