Laurence Sterne's Life Laurence Sterne was born in 1713 in Ireland. He graduated at Jesus College. Postgraduate he became vicar in Sutton-in-the-forest. In 1741 he got married with Elizabeth Lumley and they had two children. He started his career in 1759 when he published a pamphlet called A Political Romance. His two masterpieces are: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. The Life and The Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. The story is about the mad Shandy family and their friends. The main protagonist is Tristram, full of vitality humour and interest in sexual matters, who is also the narrator. All the characters are eccentric to say the least: Tristram father has a passion for erudition and fills his conversations with snatches from all fields of learnings; his uncle has a mad passion for military fortifications; other characters include Dr Slop, an incompetent physician. Laurence Sterne is considered the first writer to use the stream of consciousness technique. The plot is non-existent. Sterne takes advantage of every opportunity to introduce personal thoughts, considerations and anecdotes. His digressions even consist of graphic jokes like empty or marbledesigned pages, a whole chapter composed of only one word Alas!, written in bigger letters, pages of lines and dots and dashes only! Clock time is abandoned for the psychological time. Another aspect oh his originality lies in the attention he gives to detail, like Defoe. A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy A Sentimental Journey, published in 1768, consists in a description of his travel through France, expecially in Paris, and Italy, where he visited Milan, Rome, Florence and Naples. He shows the impossibility to describe the enormous chaotic things that form people's life. One of the topics of this novel is the isolation of the man, the difficulty to communicate with other people. Sterne thinks that everyone is obsessed by his own “hobby horses” . The novel starts with a sentence took by the middle of a conversation: They order, said I, this matter better in France, and go on even if we don't know who is the narrator, where he is, what he is doing and what id the matter of the conversation. Moreover, the novel don't have a real conclusion, it finishes with : So that when I stretch’d out my hand, I caught hold of the Fille de Chambre’s. In this way, we don't know who is the subject and we don't know how the story real finishes! Quotations from Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey: I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they were then doing.( Tristram Shandy ) "Pray, my dear," quoth my mother, "have you not forgot to wind up the clock?" — "Good G—!" cried my father, making an exclamation, but taking care to moderate his voice at the same time, — "Did ever woman, since the creation of the world, interrupt a man with such a silly question?" ( Tristram Shandy ) Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause — and of obstinacy in a bad one. ( Tristram Shandy ) They order, said I, this matter better in France. ( A Sentimental Journey ) Avrei voluto che mio padre e mia madre, o in verità entrambi, poiché entrambi erano tenuti a farlo, pensassero a quello che facevano quando mi hanno concepito. Scusate, mio caro, disse mia madre, non avete dimenticato di ricaricare l'orologio?——Buon D—! esclamò mio padre, lasciandosi sfuggire un'imprecazione, ma avendo l'accortezza al tempo stesso di non alzare troppo la voce——. Quando mai una donna, dalla creazione del mondo ai giorni nostri, ha interrotto qualcuno con una domanda così sciocca? E che cosa stava dicendo vostro padre?——Niente, naturalmente. È nota col nome di perseveranza quando si tratta di una buona causa, e di testardaggine quando la causa è cattiva. «A questo in Francia si provvede meglio» diss'io Ma questo c'entra come i cavoli a merenda perché ne parlo? Chiedetelo alla mia penna è lei a dominarmi, io non la domino.