Middle of Nowhere Productions

Middle of Nowhere Productions

Lawrence Sterne: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Chapter IV (Extract)

Lawrence Sterne: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-1769)

CHAP. IV.

 

   I know there are readers in the world, as well as many other good people in it, who are no readers at all,—who find themselves ill at ease, unless they are let into the whole secret from first to last, of every thing which concerns you.

   It is in pure compliance with this humour of theirs, and from a backwardness in my nature to disappoint any one soul living, that I have been so very particular already. As my life and opinions are likely to make some noise in the world, and, if I conjecture right, will take in all ranks, professions, and denominations of men whatever,—be no less read than the Pilgrim’s Progress itself - - - and, in the end, prove the very thing which Montaigne dreaded his essays should turn out, that is, a book for a parlour-window;—I find it necessary to consult every one a little in his turn; and therefore must beg pardon for going on a little further in the same way: For which cause, right glad I am, that I have begun the history of myself in the way I have done; and that I am able to go on tracing every thing in it, as Horace says, ab Ovo.

   Horace, I know, does not recommend this fashion altogether: But that gentleman is speaking only of an epic poem or a tragedy;—(I forget which)—besides, if it was not so, I should beg Mr. Horace’s pardon;—for in writing what I have set about, I shall confine myself neither to his rules, nor to any man’s rules that ever lived.

    To such, however, as do not choose to go so far back into these things, I can give no better advice, than that they skip over the remaining part of this Chapter; for I declare before hand,’tis wrote only for the curious and inquisitive.

———————————–Shut the door.———————————

I was begot in the night, betwixt the first Sunday and the first Monday in the month of

March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighteen. I am positive I was.— But how I came to be so very particular in my account of a thing which happened before I was born, is owing to another small anecdote known only in our own family, but now made public for the better clearing up this point. (…)



13/10/2015
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