The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

by

Laurence Sterne

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Tonight, we’ll read the opening to, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" by Laurence Sterne and published in 1759. As its title suggests, the book is about Tristram's narration of his life story. But one of the central jokes of the novel is that he cannot explain anything simply; he must make diversions to add interest to his tale, to the extent that Tristram's own birth is not even reached until far into the book. Its style is marked by digression,double entendre, and graphic devices.