Literature, Arts and Media 2017-18






... DI CHI


Tristram shandy



antiromanzo-metaromanzo-iperromanzo”, Italo Calvino [La Repubblica, 24-25 giugno 1984]



interactivity, multi-linearity, 'openness'




"Romanzo che, agli albori del romanzo, si pone come ‘parodia del romanzo’, ne smonta i meccanismi pezzo a pezzo in una messa a nudo del procedimento narrativo/semantico." Viktor Sklovskij, Il romanzo parodistico. Tristram Shandy di Sterne, in Teoria della prosa (1925): “E’ tutto regolato, come in un quadro di Picasso”.


La peripezia cessa di essere l’ingrediente principale; l’autore approfitta d’ogni scusa per introdurre riflessioni, aneddoti grassocci, capricci d’ogni genere, perfino scherzi come pagine bianche, pagine marmorizzate, un capitolo formato dalla sola parola alas! stampata a lettere sempre più grandi.”


Non c’è più gerarchia di soggetti, non c’è più regola di narrazione; ed è pacifico che Sterne fu il primo ad aprire la via che doveva condurre a Joyce” M. Praz, Storia della letteratura inglese, 1979



On May 23rd 1759, offering the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy to Robert Dodsley for publication, Sterne writes:

"The Plan, as you will perceive, is a most extensive one - taking in, not only, the Weak part of the Sciences, in which the true point of Ridicule lies – but every thing else, which I find Laugh-at-able in my way-"




The duce of any other rule have I to govern myself by in this affair -- and if I had one -- as I do all things out of all rule -- I would twist it and tear it to pieces, and throw it into the fire when I had done -- Am I warm? I am, and the cause demands it -- a pretty story ! is a man to follow rules -- or rules to follow him? (vol IV, ch. X)



 I told him, Sir——for in good truth,
when a man is telling a story in the
strange way I do mine, he is obliged
continually to be going backwards and
forwards to keep all tight together in the
reader's fancy
——which, for my own
part, if I did not take heed to do more
than at first, there is so much unfixed
and equivocal matter starting up, with
so many breaks and gaps in it,—and so
little service do the stars afford, which,
nevertheless, I hang up in some of the
darkest passages, knowing that the
world is apt to lose its way
, with all the
lights the sun itself at noon day can
give it——and now, you see, I am lost
myself!—— [vol VI ch 33:]



said he, shall be made to conjugate every
word in the dictionary, backwards and
forwards the same way
;——every word,
Yorick, by this means, you see, is converted
into a thesis or an hypothesis;—

every thesis and hypothesis have an offspring
of propositions;—and each proposition
has its own consequences and
; every one of which leads
the mind on again, into fresh tracks of
enquiries and doubtings.——The force
of this engine, added my father, is incredible,
in opening a child's head.—— [vol.6 ch.2]





Hogarth and the serpentine