This novel, by the Irish-born English author Laurence Sterne, was written and first published in 1768, as Sterne was facing death. In 1765, Laurence Sterne travelled through France and Italy as far south as Naples, and after returning determined to describe his travels from a sentimental point of view. The novel can be seen as an epilogue to the possibly unfinished work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and also as an answer to Tobias Smollett's decidedly unsentimental Travels through France and Italy. (Sterne met Smollett during his travels in Europe, and strongly objected to his spleen, acerbity and quarrelsomeness. He modeled the character of Smelfungus on him.)
The novel was extremely popular and influential and helped establish travel writing as the dominant genre of the second half of the 18th century. Unlike prior travel accounts which stressed classical learning and objective non-personal points of view, A Sentimental Journey emphasized the subjective discussions of personal taste and sentiments, of manners and morals over classical learning. Throughout the 1770s female travel writers began publishing significant numbers of sentimental travel accounts. Sentiment also became a favorite style among those expressing non-mainstream views including political radicalism.
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy is a less influential book than the more famous Tristram Shandy, although it was better received by English critics of the day. The book has many stylistic parallels with the latterand indeed, the narrator is one of the minor characters from the earlier novel. Although the story is more straightforward, A Sentimental Journey can be understood to be part of the same artistic project to which Tristram Shandy belongs.
Read alsoDelphi Complete Works of Laurence Sterne (Illustrated)
This comprehensive eBook presents the complete works of Laurence Sterne, with numerous illustrations, informative introductions and the usual Delphi bonus material. (Version 1)* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Sterne's life and works* Concise introductions to the novels and other texts* ALL the novels…