- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford; New edition edition (7 May 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192834703
- ISBN-13: 978-0192834706
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,193,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 7 May 1998
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Naxos audiobooks has just released an unabridged version, read by Anton Lesser with humour and brio. Lesser's light tenor is perfectly suited to the many roles (Parson Yorick, Doctor Slop, et al) who crowd Sterne's narrative. This translates into 15 CDs and about 19 hours of listening. Perfect for a wet summer. --Robert McCrum, The Observer <br/> This extraordinary novel - precursor of post-modernism by 250 years - would be an unwieldy beast in unabridged form: its 19 hours of whim and wit would be indigestible, if swallowed whole. But at a gentle pace it makes a lovely listen, as Anton Lesser brings characters and situations to life in infectiously unbuttoned style. Massive books like Sterne's don't fit modern lifestyles, but this massive audio-book may well fit in very well. --Betty Tadman, The Scotsman
As a general rule I go along with the advice that if a book doesn't grab you by the end of chapter 4, don't waste your time, there are plenty more. Yes, but not like Tristram Shandy. Nothing I've ever come across is like Sterne's extraordinary comic tour de force published 250 years ago which, I freely admit, I found pretty hard going a long way past chapter 4. And then, suddenly, I got it. Or at least I realised I was coming at it from the wrong direction. It isn't a novel. It has no plot. Chapters break off in mid-sentence because, advises the narrator, 'I would not give a groat for that man's knowledge in pen-craft who does not understand this: That the best plain narrative in the world, tacked very close to the last spirited apostrophe to my Uncle Toby, would have felt both cold and vapid upon the reader's palate; therefore I forthwith put an end to the chapter, though I was in the middle of my story.' And which story might that have been? The one about Uncle Toby's dalliance with the widow Wadman? Or his manservant Corporal Trim's tireless reconstructions of Flanders campaigns, complete with battering rams and catapults on the bowling green behind the vegetable garden? Or of Dr Slop, summoned to assist at the narrator's birth, being thrown from his horse and ... Enough. If you've ever sat spellbound listening to a witty, satirical, outrageous, digressive raconteur regaling you with endless stories about preposterous characters that lead nowhere but keep you hanging on every word, trust me they learned their craft from Sterne. So did postmodernists such as James Joyce and Flann O'Brien. It is tailor-made for audio, as is Anton Lesser's reading intelligent, humorous, charming. Dr Johnson admired the book enormously, but opined that 'nothing odd will do long'. For once he was wrong. Tristram Shandy is decidedly odd and extremely long, but it has stayed the course. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian
When I'm in London during the summer, I don't have the car. This is liberating to an extent, but does mean that I can't listen to Tristram Shandy. I bought the unabridged 15-CD set at the best possible place Shandy Hall, Laurence Sterne's home at Coxwold, in Yorkshire. On visiting, I became uncomfortably aware that I'd never managed to get through any Sterne. Anton Lesser reads Tristram to perfection. By the time I'd driven back to Ramsgate the next day, I had heard 10 CDs, but what about the remainder? My ears are the wrong shape for an iPod; the little earphones fall out. I can't expect the family to share Sterne in the car. Besides, is he suitable for children? Eventually, they may take to him more quickly than me always going off at a tangent, with no obvious beginning, middle and end, Tristram should appeal to the internet generation. --Clive Aslet, Town Mouse Country Life --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Ian Campbell Ross is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at Trinity College Dublin.
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Top Customer Reviews
In comparison with John Baldessari's recent photo-collages illustrating the same novel, Rowson is much funnier, more accessible, and more faithful to the original.
A very funny, very successful re-interpretation of this sometimes difficult classic. Rotund Walter Shandy is a particulary appealing figure.
Contains some (justified) obscenity.
The central irony of the novel is that the narrator is meant to tell us his life story, but does not even get born until the fourth volume, as he digresses further and further from the starting point of his conception. This novel embodies the creative process, and is most probably the most creatively 'free' work ever written. Sterne destroys all preconceptions, and sets limits only where he can go no further.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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This is the best novel ever written. The only slight criticism I have is that it's almost entirely unreadable.Published 11 months ago by Archibald Moriarty