I think it fitting that it’s taken me a year or so to read Tristram Shandy, and that during that time I’ve digressed into many another book; – but finally have I finished it – and of course, having done so, am not much the wiser.
I liked it then – but what if I were living in the year 1760 and had read Tristram Shandy (or the parts of it at that time published) – or 1761, for that matter – and had liked it? – My response might well have been, to take Mr Sterne’s ideas, use them in my own book and publish it anonymously. So that, given the hypothesis of a man in the present day with access to an archive of long-forgotten eighteenth-century documents, he might come across these said works and read them and, though they be no doubt of little worth in themselves, derive from them ideas of how the c18th thought of Sterne’s (post-)modernist concoction; – what struck them as strange or interesting in the novel; – whether they found it, as we do,out-of-place in time &c. &c. – Well, it’s an idea at least for another long drawn-out project about obscure books no one else is likely to read.
The following are the works, all anonymous (even where indicated otherwise):
- The Clockmakers Outcry against the author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
- A Supplement to the Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent., seeking to elucidate that work
- Explanatory Remarks Upon the Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy &c. &c, by Jeremiah Kunastrokius
- Yorick’s Meditations, upon various interesting and important subjects
- The Life, Travels, and Adventures of Christopher Wagstaff, Gentleman, Grandfather to Tristram Shandy (originally published in the latter end of the last century)
- The Life and Amours of Slawkenbergius
- The Life and Opinions of Miss Sukey Shandy, of Bow-Street, Gentlewoman
- The Life and Opinions of Jeremiah Kunastrokius, Doctor of Physic, &c., &c., &c.
- The Life and Opinions of an Actor. A Real History. by Mr. George Stayley
- The Life and Opinions of Bertram Montfichet, Esq., by Himself
- The Posthumous Works of the celebrated Dr. Sterne, deceased