A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


'Love is nothing without feeling. And feeling is still less without love.' Celebrated in its own day as the progenitor of 'a school of sentimental writers', A Sentimental Journey (1768) has outlasted its many imitators because of the humour and mischievous eroticism that inform Mr Yorick's travels.

Setting out to journey to France and Italy he gets little further than Lyons but finds much to appreciate, in contrast to contemporary travel writers whom Sterne satirizes in the figures of Smelfungus and Mundungus. A master of ambiguity and double entendre, Sterne is nevertheless as concerned as his peers with exploring the nature of virtue; unlike other writers of sentimental fiction Sterne insists on the inseparability of desire and feeling.

This new edition includes a selection from The Sermons of Mr Yorick, which shed light on the concerns of the Journey, The Journal to Eliza, which records Sterne's feelings as he languishes for the company of Eliza Draper, and A Political Romance, the satire on a local ecclesiastical squabble that was the catalyst for Sterne's literary career. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.

Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780199537181

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A book about a young man traveling. This book was written in the 1700s, and as a result is admittedly quite difficult to get through. The language and general thought process of the author is decisively... well, 3 centuries ago.Though this book was a bit tedious and dragged on about trivial events quite often, I found it highly entertaining and funny despite it's wording.Especially all the scenes that involved women, I found hilarious. The book was overly dramatic and flowery. I am still unsure whether this was because the author intended his over dramatizing to be funny, or because little things such as holding a woman's hand were so exaggerated back then, or a bit of both. Whatever Laurence Sterne's intentions, reading about it in the 21st century was hilarious in its ridiculousness. I laughed so hard, and really had fun reading this book aloud to my sisters.Although the ending confused me more than a bit, I loved it! Even though it wasn't actually meant to be the books conclusion (the author died before he could complete it) I still thought it fit the rest of the story's random comedy just perfectly.

Review by

The first writing in the book was incomplete novel (though I think it's partly autobiographical), <i>A Sentimental Journey</i>, which is Sterne's best known work. (I picked this up, because in the 1999 version of <i>Mansfeild Park</i>, Henry Crawford reads a paragraph from the book out loud to Fanny Price.) The story covers a traveler's journeys through France, in which he meets and interacts with a number of characters, including a mild-tempered monk, a French servant, a wealthy aristocrat, and numerous women of all ages and level of beauty with whom he has varying degrees of amorous feelings for. (A subsequent volume was meant to follow up with the traveler's journeys in Italy as well, but is unwritten.)The style of writing doesn't carry over well to the modern day. It's filled with strange grammar rules and blocks of text that I had to read multiple times in order to decipher the meaning (a challenge throughout the book), and often it's hard to tell who is talking and when. It made for very slow, very dry reading, for though the book is meant to be humorous, much of the humor was lost on me. <i>A Sentimental Journey</i> has it's pluses and some of the narrator's adventures are entertaining (I still love the scene with the caged bird), but it's far too challenging for recreational reading (IMO).Next came <i>The Journal to Eliza</i>, which is also partly autobiographical, partly fictional. The journal is in sense a long extended letter over many weak to Eliza (the author was in love with someone named Elizabeth Draper), in which the narrator bemoans and whines about his loneliness now that his Eliza has been whisked away by her husband to India, and woe is him because he's so damn lovesick. I think it's pretty clear that this piece was not to my taste. I don't have have much patience for that sort of lovesick whinny. I just don't.<i>A Political Romance</i> was my favorite writing. It involves the story of a con-man who keeps trying to claim rights to a pair of breeches and a watch-coat. I found the writing easier to read in this piece, and while, I didn't understand the politics involved, the story was rather funny regardless. <i>A Political Romance</i> also includes a section in which a group of gentlemen find the slip of paper that contained the story of the breeches and the watch-coat. After reading it, they sit around a table drinking and belabor its meaning, coming up with several possible and outlandish interpretations of the story. This was also quite funny. The final writing in the book were a selection of Sermons by Sterne. I read them through, but didn't spend much time on them, as they didn't really interest me.

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