Tristram Shandy

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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Laurence Sterne's novel Tristram Shandy. Sterne's comic masterpiece is an extravagantly inventive work which was hugely popular when first published in 1759. Its often bawdy humour, and numerous digressions, are combined with bold literary experiment, such as a page printed entirely black to mark the death of one of the novel's characters. Dr Johnson wrote that "Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not last" - but two hundred and fifty years after the book's publication, Tristram Shandy remains one of the most influential and widely admired books of the eighteenth century.


Judith Hawley
Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London

John Mullan
Professor of English at University College London

Mary Newbould
Bowman Supervisor in English at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 24 Apr 2014 21:30


Judith Hawley at Royal Holloway, University of London


John Mullan at University College London


Mary Newbould at the University of Cambridge


The Laurence Sterne Trust


Laurence Sterne - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Tristram Shandy - an online edition


The International Laurence Sterne Foundation


Christopher Fanning, “On Sterne’s Page: Spatial Layout, Spatial Form, and Social Space in Tristram Shandy”, from the journal Eighteenth-Century Fiction


The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman - Wikipedia





Max Byrd, Tristram Shandy (HarperCollins, 1985)


Ian Campbell Ross, Laurence Sterne: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2002)


Arthur H. Cash, Laurence Sterne: The Early and Middle Years (Routledge, 1992)


Arthur H. Cash, Laurence Sterne: The Later Years (Routledge, 1993)


Terry Eagleton, Crazy John and the Bishop and Other Essays on Irish Culture (Cork University Press, 1998), especially the essay ‘The Good-Natured Gael’


Alan B. Howes (ed.), Sterne: The Critical Heritage (Routledge, 2002)


Thomas Keymer, Sterne, The Moderns and The Novel (Oxford University Press, 2003)


Thomas Keymer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Laurence Sterne (Cambridge University Press, 2009)


Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (1st published 1879, General Books LLC, 2012), especially the chapter ‘The Freest Writer’


Martin Rowson, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Picador, 1996)


Laurence Sterne (eds. Melvyn New and Joan New), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Vols. 1-2: The Text. Vol. 3: The Notes (University Presses of Florida, 1984)


Laurence Sterne (ed.) Melvyn New, New Casebooks: Tristram Shandy (Macmillan, 1992)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestJudith Hawley
Interviewed GuestJohn Mullan
Interviewed GuestMary Newbould
ProducerThomas Morris

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