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By Sterne, Laurence; Howes, Alan B.; Sterne, Laurence

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Extra resources for Laurence Sterne : the critical heritage

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At the same time, the Victorians were obviously fascinated by the ‘bawdier’ and ‘less refined’ quality of life in the eighteenth century, and some critics, taking their cue from Thackeray, intensified the drama and distorted the picture even further. ’42 But Thackeray did not speak for his age, an age in which there was as much critical disagreement about Sterne as ever. Tuckerman’s ‘The Sentimentalist: Laurence Sterne,’ published in his Essays, Biographical and Critical in 1857. Both see Sterne more as a lighthearted epicurean than a hypocrite or villain.

32a); and as he neared the end of the two volumes he thought they were ‘the best,’ partly because he was ‘delighted’ with ‘uncle Toby’s imaginary character’ (No. 32b). In the new volumes themselves he addressed fewer remarks to critics and readers to justify his technique, though he reiterated that he was trying to achieve the proper blend of wit and judgment, jesting and seriousness, in his book (No. 33c). The criticism of volumes V and VI was in general more favorable than that of volumes III and IV, and the story of ‘Le Fever’ was widely reprinted.

41). Since the same censures for impropriety of character are picked up by John Langhorne in his review of the third installment of Tristram Shandy for the Monthly (No. 34d), the further question occurs as to how far the policy of the magazine as such guided subsequent reviews. Over the years the Monthly was likely to read Sterne lectures on the necessity for maintaining the dignity of his clerical character and to applaud his ‘pathetic’ passages while censuring his breaches in decorum in the humorous parts of his work (see Nos 34d, 48c, 52d).

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