Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tristram Shandy, Day Thirty-Three

There has been a lot of activity recently. Book VII contained three trips from Calais to Paris (all narrated simultaneously): Tristram as adult writer of the novel, in more-or-less present tense; Tristram as adult before beginning to write the novel, at an unknown age and traveling alone; and Tristram as a child, traveling with his father, his uncle Toby, Corporal Trim and Obadiah (Mrs. Shandy remained in England). Sterne (you know, the real writer) takes the opportunity to trot out all the stereotypes of French that the English loved in the 18th century, and had a couple of jabs at Catholicism again, but not so badly this time around. Anyway, lots of fun and more mention of the mysterious "Jenny," the woman in Tristram's life about whom we will learn, in the end, almost nothing. Book VII serves no other purpose than to pad out the book and to interrupt the narrative and delay the story of Uncle Toby's love affair with the Widow Wadman, which begins immediately again with the start of Book VIII. Mrs. Wadman is carrying out a determined and well-planned assault on Uncle Toby's passions, though of course Toby has no idea that he is in any danger, poor fellow.

Also! TG and I went to lunch and had a marvelous time. We met at a used bookstore where I purchased a Vintage paperback of Thomas Mann's Death In Venice and Other Stories, even though Mighty Reader and I have no room on our shelves for even this slim mass-market volume. I bought it anyway; I could not help myself.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, my friend TG, the metadata librarian. On Friday TG and I are escorting a pair of pretty girls to a production of "Hamlet."

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  2. You didn't fall for my trap. Curses! Okay, so it wasn't as much a trap as it was an observation that I expected to share, and I wondered if you could avoid making mention of it. You professional, you!

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