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A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings (Oxford World's Classics) New Edition
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The first section is A Sentimental Journey. We already have a part of a travelogue of Tristram in his self-titled work. In this one, it is the marvellous personage Yorick that undergoes the journey through Italy and France. The book in in the form of a ranty journal that supposedly draws from Sterne's own travels. He intended to publish 4 volumes but wrote 2 before other pursuits and eventually death caught up with him. In the work, his sentimentalism relaly comes through as he goes through various amusing incidents, tragic stories and semi-amorous adventures. All this is done with a certain dignity. The 2nd volume ends in a scene of planned abruption which I found amusing enough to justify the rest of the book.
I didn't read the next two pieces, the first one because I didn't want to pry into his private life and the second because it was hard to follow the context. The pieces are Journal to Eliza - a personal correspondence, and A Political Romance - his first published work which is a satire on a scandal which, with the proper background should be interesting.
The last section is a selection from the Sermons of Yorick, where the eccentric Shandean minister makes another appearance providing Sterne with an opportunity to make theological statements. These were very interesting, giving light to another side of Sterne.Read more ›
Sterne's A Sentimental Journey was published three years before Henry MacKenzie's The Man of Feeling. Man of Feeling was in instant hit, selling out within two months and being reprinted six time in the following decade. Both novels echo the on-going debate in 18th century about the impact of modernity on the nature of man. As G.J. Barker-Benfield persuasively argued in his book, The Culture of Sensibility, "popular novels written by men in the 1760s and 1770s were preoccupied with the meanings of sensibility for manhood...and the ambiguity we now tend to read into the novels of Laurence Stern or Mackenzie reflects this contemporary ambivalence."
Regardless of how one interprets the underlying debate OR the role of the "novels of sentiment" in the 18th century, it's clear that these tales had an audience. Of course, in light of the rise of female novelists in the 19th century, I am left wondering who was buying all the copies of MacKenzie's The Man of Feeling. Was it men, interested in getting a fix on their identity in a rapidly changing world?Read more ›