The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Study Guide

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Study Guide

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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy the Gentleman is the book as long and descriptive as its name is. The name though is true to the core: Tristram Shandy depicts his life with the incredible accuracy, but he has his own opinion about each and every event of it including his own birth. This narrative style, that portrays an absent-minded gentleman who shifts from one topic to another so intensely that he can’t finish the description of his birth until Volume III becomes the main joke of the book. Tristram Shandy is just an embodiment of Wiki Walk.

There is nothing epic in the story of Tristram Shandy - all the books depict his family life, his parents, uncle, servants and some secondary characters who visit their house. But the deadly serious and precise descriptions of many comical mishaps that happen in this family, with attempts to explain the events from the point of scientific view, make everything that happens throughout the story incredibly funny.

Despite the name of the novel promises us that there will be a lot of Tristram’s life events inside, he, surprisingly, plays mostly the role of narrator and observer. Mostly we see the episodes from his early life that shaped his personality into who he is now. These episodes are all small unfortunate events that caused Tristram to be an unimportant and miserable man, who can’t even understand the reason of his misfortunes - that were predestined for him.

Some of the critics accused Sterne of plagiarism, especially borrowing the whole passages from Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton. In general, the book was considered weird by Victorian society, some even called it vulgar for the numerous double entendre jokes and the depictions of sexual scenes given in the same explicit and lengthy manner. Still, The Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy the Gentleman reached success and is quite popular as a comedic novel even in modern days.

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