Thursday 5 November 2020

Favourite Books #27

And we think the postmodern novel came along sometime after the Second World War? Think again. First published serially between 1759 and 1767, Tristram Shandy remains as unconventional now as it was then. It gives us little of the life, and few of the opinions of its writer/protagonist, the hapless Tristram. Hell, he doesn’t even manage to get himself born until Volume III, and the story terminates when he is four. He realises he will never have enough time in the rest of his life to tell the story of his life, so prone is he to digression and exactitude. He is engaged in a race against time which he is bound to lose, if it takes him a year to write about a day in his life. “A COCK and a BULL – and one of the best of its kind I ever heard.”

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