Abstract. Laurence Sterne’s masterpiece novel Tristram Shandy (1759–1767) has kept its fascination with the public from the time of its publication to the present for very intricate reasons. While at first sight it may shock the reader as being a huge joke, the intricacy of the joke is so complex that it has often defied numerous attempts at disclosing the profounder meanings it no doubt carries. The present paper is a survey by which we outline some of crucial elements underlying the mazy structure of this surprising literary creation, in which we encounter for the first time in English fiction a comic use of psychological time.
Key words: comic fiction; metafictional comedy; the total comic novel; Shandean irony; digression; uncreditable narrator; narrator’s consciousness; masks

Preda IA (2019) Laurence Sterne and the comedy of novel-writing in Tristram Shandy. Stroe MA, ed. Creativity 5(2): 53–75. doi:10.22381/C5220222

University of Bucharest,
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
English Department;
Bucharest, Romania

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