Sterne travelled through France and Italy three years prior to writing A Sentimental Journey, which he completed on his death bed. The protagonist is a thinly-disguised Sterne who recounts his - mostly amorous - adventures through the two countries. Sterne very particularly wanted the account to be subjective; he discusses opinions and morals and personal experiences in opposition to the drier travelling accounts which dealt with history and classical learning. His book helped to establish travel writing as the dominant genre of the late 18th century.
Mr. Yorick, the sentimental traveller, refrains from the customary reflections on monuments and landscapes. Instead, he focuses on his sweet and affectionate emotions, experiencing them everywhere he goes and with every creature who crosses his path — from bursts of sympathy for a caged bird and an abused donkey, to bonhomie among peasants at dinner and flirtation with women of every social degree. Closer in spirit to a novel than a travelogue, Mr. Yorick's account of his wanderings satirizes conventional travel books, and his comic mishaps along the path to tender emotions are as much a critique of pure sentiment as they are an exploration of human sympathy. Unabridged republication of the classic 1768 edition.
'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.