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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life — Tristram Shandy (146 comments)

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  •  Love love love love this book. (17+ / 0-)

    And I always love having an excuse to post this, one of its most famous images, wherein the narrator describes, in visual form, the plot progression of his book:

    I also love how Sterne makes comic hay out of a serious subject - Tristram's uncle was wounded in the groin during the siege at Namur, and the widow he's courting wants to know, as delicately as possible, whether his equipment still functions:

    --And whereabouts, dear sir, quoth Mrs. Wadman, a little categorically, did you receive this sad blow?--In asking this question, Mrs. Wadman gave a slight glance towards the waistband of my uncle Toby's red plush breeches, expecting naturally, as the shortest reply to it, that my uncle Toby would lay his fore-finger upon the place--
    Painfully awkward moment, which Sterne defuses in an equally painful, ridiculous way:
    It fell out otherwise--for my uncle Toby having got his wound before the gate of St. Nicolas, in one of the traverses of the trench opposite to the salient angle of the demibastion of St. Roch; he could at any time stick a pin upon the identical spot of ground where he was standing when the stone struck him: this struck instantly upon my uncle Toby's sensorium--and with it, struck his large map of the town and citadel of Namur and its environs, which he had purchased
    and pasted down upon a board, by the corporal's aid, during his long illness--it had lain with other military lumber in the garret ever since, and accordingly the corporal was detached to the garret to fetch it.
    (In other words, "Where were you wounded?" and he points out the spot on a map.  Har!)

    Seriously, those of you who've put it off because it looks so old and dusty... It's one of the funniest, dirtiest, craziest, and most "modern" novels of its time (or any time).

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:06:06 AM PST

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