First, I think that Laurence Sterne, a writer ahead of his time, managed to supply the readers of his time with the new novel they were waiting for: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (a novel about writing a novel). I would dare claim no stranger book than this has ever been written. It is curious to be able to read stories telling that Sterne himself admitted that when he had written a sentence he trusted to God for the next. I think he followed his imagination above all.
The result is a book with very little plot, but full of really great digressions. I was surprised when observing the use of that strange kind of punctuation, those asterisks, diagrams and several pages in Latin. Moreover, Sterne knows how to give his characters and their world a good deal of humor and a bit of his genius.
Tristram Shandy didn't just get a lot of praises, this book also had its enemies. For instance, Dr Johnson, a very important critic of the time stated:Mark my words, and remember what I say to you; however much it may be talked about at present, yet, depend upon it, in the course of twenty years, should any one wish to refer to the book in question, he will be obliged to go to an antiquary to inquire for it.In my opinion, this man was completely wrong. In fact, nobody would have any kind of problem when trying to get a copy of Tristram Shandy nowadays, even the reader counts on the chance of reading the work in different languages. That's why I can claim that this book survived and will survive the passing of time.
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