The sixth volume of the Florida Edition of the Works of Laurence Sterne contains scholarly editions of two works of Sterne's last year of life, A Sentimental Journey and the Bramine's Journal (Journal to Eliza). As with the first five volumes of the series (Tristram Shandy, the Sermons, and their annotations), the texts are presented as clean texts, with all textual and scholarly apparatus gathered at the end of the volume, including collations with existing manuscripts, a historical collation of the first three editions of Journey, and a comprehensive listing of all emendations made to the texts. While relying on the scholarly edition of Journey by Gardner Stout (1967), this new edition has in many ways, both textual and annotative, altered his earlier work; and it presents as well the first truly scholarly edition of the Journal since Lewis Perry Curtis's edition in Letters (1935).
This book continues the tradition of the Florida Edition, providing an abundance of materials that are intended to elucidate but not interpret Sterne's writings. New and Day build on Stout's fine annotations, but they add the commentaries of the intervening 35 years, along with some new recoveries and discoveries, and some corrections to Stout's edition. The annotations to the Journal go well beyond Curtis's commentary, especially in drawing a strong relationship between the Journey and the Journal. As the editors argue in the extensive introduction, the two texts must be read together in order to be understood properly.
Sterne's writings in his last year belong together as the complex representation of his hopes and fears, his loves and his longings, as he prepared to face death and judgment. The dual presentation in this volume will not only enhance the reputation of the Bramin's Journal, but will bring to light aspects of A Sentimental Journey previously unnoted.
Melvyn New is professor of English at the University of Florida and general editor of the Florida Edition of the Works of Laurence Sterne, five volumes of which have been published.
W. G. Day is head of the English Department and Eccles Librarian at Winchester College, U.K.