Wednesday, February 6, 2019

“Not like the trumpet stop
of some ill-made organ”

Tristram has been promising to tell the story of Uncle Toby’s amours with widow Wadman for some time now. The story is finally underway. Here Mrs. Wadman is trying to get Uncle Toby to look her in the eye. She claims to have a mote, or something, there. Danger, Uncle Toby, danger:

Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman 8 (1765).

Also from Sterne
Letters for all occasions : Yorick, distracted : Yorick, translating : Yorick, soulful : Digressions : Uncle Toby and the fly : Heat and knowledge : “A North-west passage to the intellectual world” : Paris and Manhattan : Tourism : Plain management

[“Madam”: Tristram’s direct address to an imagined female reader.]

comments: 2

Elaine said...

King of the run-on sentence? Yet he made it not only WORK, but lovely.

In 9th grade we were required (after finishing _David Copperfield_) to read another Dickens novel and do a group report presentation to the class. One other girl and I read _The Old Curiosity Shop_ (in which poor Little Nell suffers every ill of the time and place before Dickens finally kills her off) and gave it the only negative review in the class. One of my chief complaints featured a sentence that composed an entire paragraph! Clauses upon clauses! Sterne does it better!

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, Sterne’s prose is like speech punctuated for pacing.

Dickens scored (so to speak) his work for his readings — I wonder what it might have been like to hear such a paragraph.