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Novel BeginningsExperiments in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction$
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Patricia Spacks

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300110319

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300110319.001.0001

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Tristram Shandy and the Development of the Novel

Tristram Shandy and the Development of the Novel

(p.254) Chapter Nine Tristram Shandy and the Development of the Novel
Novel Beginnings

Patricia Meyer Spacks

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the eighteenth-century novel Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. This is a work that, according to Russian critic Victor Shklovsky, consciously made effective use of the full range of techniques seen throughout the evolution of the novel. Thus, it is a masterpiece not just as a novel, but also in the way it comments on the novel as a genre, eluding categorization and classification, and borrowing from earlier authors such as Rabelais, Cervantes, Robert Burton, Erasmus, and many others. This complex novel is then studied as a benchmark for the developments that the novel underwent throughout the eighteenth century. The chapter explores the structure, characters, and other complexities contained and involved in the writing of Tristram Shandy.

Keywords:   Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne, Victor Shklovsky, Cervantes, Robert Burton, Erasmus, novel, Rabelais

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