Laurence Sterne

(2805 words)
  • Carol Watts (Birkbeck, University of London)

Laurence Sterne has often been claimed as a precursor of modernist experiment, the comic play of his writing anticipating the work of James Joyce or the formal ironies of postmodern textuality. Yet the extraordinary “legacy of myself” he created for posterity is one rooted in the pressures, uncertainties and desires of eighteenth-century life which found a uniquely self-reflexive form in his narratives. He was born in a military barracks in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, the eldest of seven children, the majority of whom did not live beyond infancy. His father, Roger Sterne, was the younger son of an eminent family who numbered renowned ecclesiastics amongst its ancestors, including Richard Sterne, Master of Jesus College …

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Watts, Carol. "Laurence Sterne". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2002
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Articles on Sterne's works

  1. A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy
  2. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy

Related Groups

  1. The Sentimental Novel/ Novel of Sensibility