Sterne, Laurence

Laurence Sterne by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Laurence Sterne by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Image source
Laurence Sterne was born in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, in 1713.

His father was an English officer, and his birth there was coincident with this fact. The family returned to England when the regiment was disbanded, but within ten months the regiment was reformed and the family returned to Dublin. Laurence was sent from Ireland to school in Halifax in Yorkshire in 1722 and thereafter lived in England.

His works are The Case of Elijah and the Widow of Sarephath Considered [a sermon] (1747); The Abuses of Conscience [a sermon](1750); Tristram Shandy, vols. i, ii, (1759); iii, iv (1761); v,vi (1762); vii, viii (1765);ix (1767); Sermons vols.i, ii (1760); iii, iv, v, vi (1766); and A Sentimental Journey, 1768 (the outcome of a journey to France in 1762).

His Complete Works, with life and plates, was published by Stothard and Thurston (London, 1808). His daughter published his letters to her in three volumes, along with a short autobiography of her father, in 1775.

He died in 1768 at his lodgings in Bond Street, London. Garrick, who knew him well, wrote the following epigraph for him:

Shall pride a heap of sculptured marble raise,
Some worthless, unmourn’d, titled fool to praise
And shall we not by one poor grave-stone learn
Where genius, wit, and humour sleep with Sterne!

The Tristam Shandy Web

Preface and Chapters 1 to 3 of Tristam Shandy.

LibriVox recording of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Volume 1, by Laurence Sterne.