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Satire Shandy Hall England. About English people from 18th century, wit or humour,human behaivour

Tristram Shandy, in telling the story of his earliest years, always believed that most of the problems of
his life were brought about by the fact that the moment of his conception was interrupted when his
mother asked his father whether he had remembered to wind the clock. Tristram knew the exact date of
his conception, the night between the first Sunday and the first Monday of March, 1718. He was certain
of this because Mr. Shandy͛s notebook indicated that before that Monday he had been seriously
inconvenienced by an attack of sciatica, but immediately afterward...

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ùTristram Shandy, though it is Sterne's first novel, was written at a time when many have written their
twentieth, that is, when he was forty-five years old. But it bears every sign of maturity. No young writer
could have dared to take such liberties with grammar and syntax and sense and propriety and the
longstanding tradition of how a novel should be written. It needed a strong dose of the assurance of
middle age and its indifference to censure to run such risks of shocking the lettered by the
unconventionality of one's style, and the respectable by the irregularity of one's morals. But the risk was
run and the success was prodigious.ù

and

ùThe jerky, disconnected sentences are as rapid and it would seem as little under control as the phrases
that fall from the lips of a brilliant talker. The very punctuation is that of speech, not writing, and brings
the sound and associations of the speaking voice in with it. The order of the ideas, their suddenness and
irrelevancy, is more true to life than to literature. There is a privacy in this intercourse which allows
things to slip out unreproved that would have been in doubtful taste had they been spoken in public.
Under the influence of this extraordinary style the book becomes semi-transparent. The usual
ceremonies and conventions which keep reader and writer at arm's length disappear. We are as close to
life as we can be.ù

Tristram Shandy is dying after living a very disappointing life, he decides to write down his life and
opinions, largely to make excuses for why things did not turn out as they should have. His first excuse
was that his Dad was not concentrating enough during his conception; the second is that his nose was
broken at birth; his third was his being given the name Tristram and the fourth was his being unwittingly
circumcised as a four year old when a window fell on him. These may not seem like sensible excuses, but
they all make sense because they are all deviations from the grand plan organised for him by Walter, his
father.

Walter is a very interesting character, a man who uses reason and clear logic to support and conceive
ideas much nuttier than anything he could have created out of nowhere. He is so keen on concocting the
best ever syllabus for his young son that the boy grows up not being taught anything. He loves his wife
and he loves his son but he is so selfishly devoted to his own whims and hobbyhorses that he can͛t
properly show his love. Walter loves and relentlessly teases his younger brother, Toby.

Toby is the finest, most loveable character I have found in all fiction. He͛s an ex-soldier who had a flying
piece of masonry crush his groin during the Siege of Namur and is now obsessed with the science of
fortification. Either the blow affected his mind, or Toby was never the sharpest pike in the pack but he is
not all that clever, he knows nothing about social life or the opposite sex and so he is naturally the one
who falls in love. Despite being a strong and obsessive warrior, obsessive enough to re-enact town
fortifications on the bowling lawn, Toby is so soft and gentle and literally would not hurt a fly.

I ended up falling head over heels for the guy to be honest.

Toby has an accomplice, a man known as Trim, a sentimental corporal with a fondness for oration. He
assists Toby in all of his hobbyhorses and loves him completely and Toby loves Trim back - it͛s a love
forged by war injury and carried into civilian life. Trim manages to make a whole group of people cry just
by dropping his hat in illustration of death.

There are lots of other characters, Obadiah the manservant who loves whistling; Susannah the ditzy
maid; the Widow Wadman, so beautiful the reader is given a blank page just to fill in; and finally, Parson
Yorick, a man who͛s pleasant temper is his downfall. Indeed, there are hundreds of characters except
Tristram himself. Tristram barely gets a look in as a character and as a narrator, he is more a series of
ticks and eccentricities.

These characters weave and crash and get in each other͛s way, each one riding their hobbyhorses
wherever they take them, bickering as they go. There are mock sermons, mock obituaries, mock
romances, mock learning, mock socratic dialogue - a whole bunch of mock.

He includes some wonderful phrases and conceits. One of many fine conceits is the one about why all
the best writers are clean shaven. He starts with the first principal that a good writer is one who has
time to think and that a man who shaves has ample time to think. He then reflects that women writers
must have some other time to think seeing as they don͛t shave, except the Spanish women of course.

You could slim this book, cut out the chapters from the fake miscellany about the guys with the big
noses or the entire book that dealt with Tristram travelling awkwardly and expensively around France
but to cut stuff from the book is not to read it right.

Run with the book, run with it and accept it and it is one of the finest things you will ever read, full of
humour and emotion and quite wonderful. Fight it and it will be a very frustrating few hundred pages.

Absolutely brilliant and almost unthinkably ahead of its time. Considered the father of stream of
consciousness writing, this challenging, witty, tangential masterpiece explores the insurmountable
unknowability of a person, the futility of truly telling a life's story, and the associative and seemingly
random nature of memory and thought. Its format is unconventional for our time, let alone 18th century
England-- the book makes abrupt and drastic shifts in time and place, in character, and in writing style,
sometimes evolving spontaneously into French or Latin or an entirely visual gag (such as empty black
pages when a character dies, empty white pages to describe a polar bear, line drawings to indicate the
shape of the plot, etc.). It may at time's test a reader's patience with its absurdity, but Sterne knew
exactly what he was doing when he made this beautiful mess. The end result is a hilarious and insightful
novel about stories and how impossible really they are