“STERNE REVOLUTIONIZED THE NOVEL” (KUNITZ & HAYCRAFT): FIRST EDITION OF A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
STERNE, Laurence. A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. By Mr. Yorick. London: T. Becket and P.A. DeHondt, 1768. Two volumes. 16mo, contemporary full tan calf gilt, raised bands, red and black morocco spine labels. $3200.
First edition of this major work by Sterne, considered the “most eminent novelist of the period” (Baugh, 1022).
“Sterne is generally acknowledged as an innovator of the highest originality, and has been seen as the chief begetter of a long line of writers interested in the ‘stream-of-consciousness’ (Drabble, 937). Certainly James Joyce was one of those influenced, writing about Finnegan’s Wake, “I, after all, am trying to tell the story of this Chapelizod family in a new way… Only I am trying to build many planes of narrative with a single esthetic purpose. Did you ever read Laurence Sterne?” (Ellman, 554). “Sterne designed Sentimental Journey ‘To teach us to love the world and our fellow-creatures better than we do’… Even Horace Walpole [who had found Tristram Shandy ‘tiresome’] admitted that the new book… was marked by ‘great good nature and strokes of delicacy” (DNB). He predicted his Sentimental Journey would appeal especially to the women, “who will read this book in the parlour, and Tristram in the bed-chamber” (Allibone, 2243). Variant state with “vous” on page 150 of Volume I; and Volume II with pages 34 and 35 misnumbered and with “who have” on page 133 (no priority established). Engraving of Sterne’s coat of arms on page 38 of Volume II. With subscriber list. Bound with half titles. Without loosely inserted ad leaf in Vol. I. Rothschild 1971. Grolier, English 54. Lowndes, 2509. Bookplate.
Interiors fine, moderate age-wear to spines of contemporary full calf binding. An extremely good copy.