Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Deradoorian $5 Off Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Shop Popular Services pivdl pivdl pivdl  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Baby Sale

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2002
Laurence Sterne's 1768 novel, "A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy," is a strange and largely plotless book - less the recounting of a journey than of Parson Yorick's ramblings. Following the wildly successfuly, and no less diffuse "Tristram Shandy," Sterne crafts a much smaller, but no less intense work, recounting the misadventures of Parson Yorick, himself a character in the earlier novel. Labelling himself a 'sentimental traveler,' Yorick's account of his travels is not descriptive, but emotive, revealing his conflicted, if warm-hearted psychology.
The novel begins abruptly in the middle of a conversation between Yorick and his servant over a French policy in the eighteenth century of seizing the property of a foreigner who dies in France. Eager to discover the truth of the matter, Yorick impulsively throws a few shirts in a bag and before the next day ends, lands in Calais, France. Upon his arrival, his initial purpose, like many which he determines on in the course of the book, is forgotten, as his mind drifts from topic to topic as things and people happen to cross his sight. What remains of the novel are a series of pathetic and amorous adventures, in which Yorick's senses of morality, propriety, and common sense are brought into constant conflict with his impetuous nature and good humored guile.
Sterne is too intelligent and expert a writer to allow sentiment, what we might call sappy nonsense, to rule the day in his novel, and the scrapes Yorick get himself into are as much a critique of pure sentiment as an exploration of the uses and practicality of human sympathy. Sterne is playing with a recent tradition of moral philosophy, including the likes of such authors as Shaftesbury and Adam Smith, the latter of whose "Theory of Moral Sentiments" (1759) was at the forefront of popularizing and pragmatizing fellow-feeling. Sterne uses the excitable and impulsive Yorick to play with these ideas, along with those of his acquaintance, David Hume, whose notions of moral aesthetics marked a radical departure from the aforementioned predecessors. Out of all of these high flown philosophical traditions, Sterne fashions a witty and clever series of scenarios - from eating with peasants, bantering with a monk, flirting with a married woman while her husband indifferently watches, and nearly getting thrown in the Bastille - all display a very human look at the world.
Encounters between Yorick and various classes and characters in France illustrate the distance between theory and practice in terms of implementing any kind of systematic philosophy - even, and especially for a man of the cloth, like our protagonist. Yorick means well most of the time, which makes his faults and foibles all the more endearing and amusing. By his own admission, Yorick is constantly falling in love, perhaps to give his bachelor life some sense of chivalric purpose, but when he starts falling in love with every chamber-maid and noblewoman in France, we begin to question, not only his sincerity, but the capacity of his sexual and emotional appetites. It makes for hilarious episodes, especially when his French servant, La Fleur, is dragged into the middle of them.
A forerunner of the focused genre of sentimental fiction like Mackenzie's "The Man of Feeling" and the more refined imaginative sensibilities of many Romantic Era authors, Sterne's little novel, along with "Tristram Shandy" made immediate cultural impact, not only in England, but throughout Europe. Sometimes confusing, often amusing, reading Sterne's "Sentimental Journey" is a great way to while away a summer afternoon.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 1997
This autobiographical acount by Sterne of his amorous progress through France and Northern Italy is surely one of the most delightful books ever written. Composed as he lay dying of tuberculosis, the book nonetheless encaptures the author's renowned zest for life as well as the libertine spirit of the age in which he lived. The journey down through France to Northern Italy is the perfect vehicle for an excursion into the nature of human sensibility, and from the moment that this cultured Anglo-Irish cleric sets foot in Calais, the reader is treated to a seies of exquisite encounters with the fairer sex. Rarely has an author transmitted so well his understanding of the psychological complexity of women, or the pleasure he takes in their company. Engaging, perceptive and witty, this is a book whiich cannot fail to leave an imprint on the imagination.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2006
I wish I could go around France and Italy and chat it up like this fellow does.

I also wish I could write like him. Every once in a while I run across a writer who can really tell a tale and uses English as a painter uses oils.

Ben
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 1998
Sterne befuddles and delights readers and critics alike in A Sentimental Journey. He takes the fashionable travel log of the time and satarizes it. Contemporary critics had a fit over its supposedly bawdy nature, yet some modern readers may over look its sublte innuendo. The form of the novel is quite unlike anything that had preceeded it, thus is important for any scholars. Most importanly, however, the book is funny and fun to read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
Five stars for Sterne. No, a hundred stars. The wit is irresistible.

But the Penguin Kindle edition is a train wreck, full of broken and misspelled words. I had a hard time reading it and ended up annoyed instead of delighted.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
a similar seemingly pointless but profoundly significant AND FUNNY epic delivered under the guise of a trivial travelogue, written by a fellow Irishman. Nice to know Joyce read his Sterne as well as his daily newspaper while traveling in Trieste.

This parody must be read and enjoyed on its own terms. Recent academic commentaries are helpful in understanding, a fact which does not detract from this work.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2004
Even for modern readers, "A Sentimental Journey" (published 1768)is as startlingly innovative as Sterne's celebrated "Tristram Shandy". Sterne's ability to crystallize the minute details of experience - which may be down to a few seconds only - is reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse". Indeed, Woolf admired this book.

This is by no means an easy read. The 18th-century prose is difficult; the book is larded with Frenchisms and Biblical or classical allusions; the complex, slow narrative often requires re-reading. But the rewards are great! It's wise, deeply comical, and incredibly perceptive.

There are several helpful reviews below dealing with the aspect of "sentimentality", and so I will just single out two things which appealed to me:

1. STERNE AND BODY LANGUAGE. Sterne shows an almost 20th-century appreciation of body language. In fact, I believe he might have been the first to identify it as such. His chapter, "The Translation", highlights the importance of being able to interpret subtle physical hints, like a language: "There is not a secret so aiding to the progress of sociality, as to get master of this _shorthand_, and be quick in rendering the several turns of looks and limbs, with all their inflections and delineations, into plain words." How visionary!

2. STERNE AND THE FRENCH. Ever since Shakespeare inserted a scene in "cod French" into _Henry V_, actually ever since the Norman Conquest and up to Monty Python and beyond, the English have revelled in mocking the French and their language. His Continental travelling gives Sterne the perfect excuse to do this. At one point he differentiates between "tant pis" (= "never mind" - where there is nothing to be gained) and "tant mieux" (= so much the better - where there IS an advantage). He also has a hilarious section on the grades of French swearing: first "Diable!", then "Peste!" and finally the words that he won't repeat. In all cases, Sterne carefully shows the social niceties of these expressions.

The protagonist, Yorick, has various adventures of lust and feeling with women and other typically travelish things like losing his passport that we can all relate to. He's tender, obscene, learned, funny, companionable, and above all, readable - if tough.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2013
This fictional travel book is of special interest to readers of "Tristram Shandy," which is the kind of novel we're likely to read more than once. The narrator of "A Sentimental Journey" is the Rev. Yorick, a friend of Tristram Shandy. There are references in both directions: Yorick refers to Shandy as Shandy does to Yorick in the latter novel. But unlike its natural partner, "Journey" isn't a groundbreaker. It's a glimpse into the mind and heart of a cultivated upper-class Englishman, and how he regards the humble and noble French people he meets. In this sense, the book is invaluable. It demonstrates how a gentleman from a culture finer than our own (whether we're American, English, or whatever) thinks and especially feels about life. To use the word that Sterne's contemporaries preferred, it shows us a man of sensibility. The French whom Yorick meets are lively, polished, and amusing, and Sterne has a genius for sharing his appreciation of them. By the way, the full title promises a journey through "France and Italy." Yorick, we gather, spent time in Italy, but more than 90 percent of the journey he shares with us is through France. We just get a glimpse of the Alpine north of Italy towards the end of the book. If you want to broaden your sense of how a good life can be lived, this small book is well worth your time. If you're a "Tristram Shandy" fan, it's a must.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2014
Sometimes, I read a book that is widely acclaimed as a classic, a masterpiece, a part of the literary canon, and my reaction is "Eh", or possibly "Meh". That's how I responded to "A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy", after struggling though all 80 pages of it. Now consider, this book was a hit after it was published in 1768, and has been finding readers for almost 250 years. When something like this happens, I assume that the problem isn't with the novel, it's with me. That assumption is reinforced by all the glowing reviews here and elsewhere; when I am that far out of step, best to ignore me.

I couldn't get involved in the book, but that may be because I depend too much on narrative tension, and not enough on just being there. Also, I couldn't figure out what was going on at times: again, I may be too literal. Goethe's "Sorrows of Young Werther" had the same impact (or lack of impact) on me: perhaps 18th century sentimentality is just beyond my ken. For those who like this sort of thing, this is clearly the sort of thing they like. Hats off to them: I am not up to it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on June 19, 2011
I bought this audiobook a year ago and finally got around to listening to it (and reading along with it) yesterday, only to realize that Disc 1 ends not only in the middle of a chapter (Vol. 1--The Wig: Paris) but in the middle of a sentence; even worse, Disc 2 begins with Vol. 2, so the audiobook skips over 6 and a half chapters! The running time on my audiobook is 3:41:16, but the digital download here and the version at the Naxos website are both over 4 hours. This discrepancy seems to be some sort of mistake because the CD box clearly states that the audiobook is unabridged.
I would recommend either buying the download or getting the CDs directly from Naxos.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics)
A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics) by Laurence Sterne (Paperback - December 15, 2008)
$6.95

Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Classics)
Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Classics) by Kathryn Lindskoog (Paperback - April 29, 2003)
$8.89

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.