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A Sentimental Journey

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  2,406 ratings  ·  124 reviews
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 wom...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published May 17th 2004 by Dover Publications (first published 1768)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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William
This is pure character-driven, plotless fun. It's a travel tale in which the first-person narrator drifts from incident to incident and it is always the idiosyncratic power of his voice that carries us along. The text is not easy, loaded with archaisms and French expressions as it is. Light readers steer clear. Endnotes are copious--and essential--about two or three to a page. If you loved Tristram Shandy, as I did, this should also satisfy. The prose here seems lighter than in that previous nov...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The only novel I know where the author purposedly omitted the last word. And that word, if I may so delicately disclose, is CUNT. Or the equivalent old slang term they use for it when this was first published in 1768: CASE. As in:

"His Pego measur'd to the Female Case,
"Betwixt a Woman's Thighs his proper Place."
--Essay on Woman, John Wilkes (1763)

Virginia Woolf surely would have disagreed. She read this sometime in the late 1920's, expressed admiration for Laurence Sterne's "delicate, flashing st...more
MJ Nicholls
For those curious as to Sterne’s “other thing” besides Tristram Shandy, let me make it clear: no, this is not another spearheading postmodern masterpiece. This is a vicaresque (ha—see what I did there?) travelogue narrated by the curious Yorick, a man of questionable virtue. The chapters are bitesize but thin-in-content, making it pleasant to read if not altogether interesting—a few semi-comic mishaps befall the narrator, and the Tobias Smollett parodies are amusing too. The novel does lean towa...more
Kristopher
May 14, 2007 Kristopher rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who liked Tristram Shandy
The other major Sterne work. And though much shorter, I don't know if I would recommend it to read first. The complexity of this book is not immediately evident (which makes it all the more fantastic for me). I think it gains in greatness with its comparison to Tristram Shandy.

On its own, though, I think it might make an interesting read. It is largely credited for starting the sentimental fiction subgenre - which can be a bit unfair to the book, since sentimental fiction is marked by ridiculous...more
Ckane737
Honestly, if I could rate this lower than a star I would.
David
Written in the rambling, laconic but clearly deliberate and perfectly modulated style which Sterne got down to a fine art in ‘Tristram Shandy’, ‘A Sentimental Journey’ is the loose journal of the lonely and very English Parson Yorick on a trip through France in the mid-Eighteenth century.

The book is made up of short chapters sub-titled ‘The Monk – Calais’, ‘The Husband – Paris’, ‘The Passport – Versailles’, etc. Yorick has a keen and self-deprecating sense of humour and is always trying to be po...more
Tuck
i haven't read all 7 vols, but did "sentimental journey through france and italy" in weeks edited "great short novels" http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32...
and weeks' introduction does help the reader understand the context sterne wrote this very modern 18th century short novel. seems sterne was a real hounddog preacher from york, and terribly sick too, so to keep his spirits up and juices flowing he would fall in love, lots. so this short story is his chronicle to his last lover, of his tri...more
Dylan
Maybe more of a 3.5 out of 5.

Main Thoughts...
1. I think its extremely important when reading this, to know that 'purse', 'case', and some other words don't mean what you think they do. Unless you were thinking they were female sex organs...Then your right!
2. The subtext in this book is what was great about it, if you have a dirty mind. Reading this will make you feel fancy and intellectual while still having a dirty mind.
3. It was a bit slow for 118 pages, its definitely something you should giv...more
Skookum
When I read the negative reviews of this book, I have to guess that people just didn't get it. It's very funny. It's about an upper class young man's erotic adventures in France. He writes as if he's very chaste, but he keeps finding himself in compromising situations with beautiful women and he falls victim to his passions. Don't condemn him unless you've been in an identical situation. Yorrick loves women--All women. It's not all spelled out. You have to read between the lines to know what's...more
Matthew Gatheringwater
I read this book while attending a sick man who, every time I had just started to make sense of one of Sterne's infinitely regressive passages, woke up from a nap and cried "Help!" When he fell back asleep, I had to start from the beginning again. As a result, I have difficulty giving a coherent account of the entire book, but recall that parts of it were very amusing. Of course, I can say the same thing about Tristram Shandy, which I read without interruption.

Basically, I have taken away the me...more
Douglas Dalrymple
“The heart is for saving what it can.”

I finished Tristram Shandy a couple months ago and was missing it. Vacationing at the beach this past week (surrounded not only by my own children but in-laws and three very enthusiastic miniature nieces), I dedicated an hour each morning to A Sentimental Journey, and consider it the best part of my holiday. It might be an epilogue or dessert sequel for Tristram Shandy, narrated, as it is, by the Shandy family's parish priest, the Rev. Yorick. Necessarily of...more
Rachel
Jun 15, 2008 Rachel rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 18th century lovers
Recommended to Rachel by: forced to read it (are we seeing a pattern?)
Shelves: classics
My hatred of this book stems from a class that I took in college. I expected crazy libertine writings and pornography (for instance: the Earl of Rochester's poems), because that was how the professor advertised it, but alas! The course I got stuck with was clogged with sentimental writings and other works that I had no interest in.

I'll be blunt: I only read about 1/3 of the way through because I couldn't be bothered. While it's obvious that Yorick isn't meant to be a three-dimensional and flawed...more
John
Not sure what the author was going for here. This is one of those old satire/parodies that makes very little sense to me because I'm not at all familiar with whatever it is that's being satirized/parodied. The only thing I found particularly amusing about it was the way in which the main character put on a pious, Christian facade as a means of getting into the pants of just about every woman he met. Sexual encounters written in Olde English crack me up, seeing as how you have to be paying very c...more
Kelsey
I had to read this for my post-modernism class in college, and we spent an incredible amount of time on this book just discussing it (almost a level 400 class, we spent about two months on this), because that's how hard it is to read. At the time this book was written, the post-modern sentimental genre was all the rage, so I'm sure it was widely popular then, but now, it doesn't really make much sense.

It's fragmented, lines cut off, there are blank spaces, and really, the story is just the musi...more
Majoringinliterature
Originally posted at Majoring in Literature.

There are several reasons why I wanted to read Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Not only is it a turning-point in the history of travel writing, it also makes fun of the self-obsessed and narrow-minded travel accounts of older generations, something I’m sure almost everyone enjoys, if only in small doses. Sterne’s novel was also a precursor to the approach of Romantic writers like Goethe, whose Italian Journey I read ea...more
Bob
Ordinarily I read scholarly introductions after the fact, in case they give away the plot. In this case, there is no plot and I understood what Sterne was aiming for sufficiently more after reading the introduction that I am tempted to read the whole book again.
Short and amusing, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy is in part a satire on 18th century travel writing, in particular Tobias Smollett's Travels through France and Italy. It also, I am told, pokes fun at the overuse of "sent...more
Karen
I'm happy that this book was so short because I did not like reading it. Perhaps the story was good but the style that it was told in made it so difficult to read and understand what was going on that I got frustrated by it.
Katie Grainger
This morning I was stuck on a bus for two hours, as a reader this is a rare time I have to be able to sit back and think, OK there is nothing else I can do right now but read hurray! Sadly I was stuck on the bus with A Sentimental Journey and not something I could get my teeth into.

Don't get me wrong I am sure that A Sentimental Journey is a status symbol in literature and without it the modern novel wouldn't be what it is today, the problem is that I just couldn't get into it! I didn't understa...more
Jonah Rosenberg
Horrible book. It did not make sence
Chris
Not for me, DNF. I am halfway the book and I have not encountered a single thing I am glad to have read. As the Goodreads summary already says, it has no real plot: "Sterne's tale rapidly moves away from the narrative of travel to become a series of dramatic sketches, ironic incidents, philosophical musings, reminiscences, and anecdotes; sharp wit is mixed with gaiety, irony with tender feeling." All well and good, but it doesn't make for interesting reading for me, I found it just plain boring,...more
Padarn
Couldn't stand it.
Yngvild
Well, that was a pleasant little romp: a set of short sketches of the kind of people a mid-eighteenth century traveller might typically have met during a French holiday. A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy is not a travelogue; there are no extended descriptions of picturesque landscapes or gracious châteaux. Laurence Sterne cared about people, especially ordinary people: servants, innkeepers, and the lowest ranks of the rampant, soon to be culled, French aristocracy.

Sterne, of course...more
Vasha7
100% delightful! I really had no idea what to expect when starting to read this. I didn't know that I'd actually laugh out loud several times. Perhaps surprise was a significant part of the impression it made on me. At at least one point, I found myself thinking, "Wait, did he really just write that?" But in any case, I'm sure Sterne's reputation as a comic genius is safe for a while. The book is full of amusing incidents and paragraphs -- the famous scene in the Paris shop, where the narrator f...more
Rozzer
I'm impressed by Alex and Brad's reviews of "Sentimental Journey". They think this book is far better than I do, though in the end I do believe it's just a matter of personal taste. But it's an interesting matter of personal taste. There are visual writers and then there are non-visual writers. The visual writers are continually calling up in their readers' minds particular pictures and images. To read them is, in a sense, to watch a movie.

Non-visual writers are more focused on words and word g...more
Carolina
Oct 18, 2012 Carolina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in the mood for a laugh
According to Mr. Yorick, there can only be three reasons for travelling:

‘Infirmity of body,
Imbecility of mind, or
Inevitable necessity.’

Therefore, he considers his own situation to be, evidently, the last; and embraces the self-given title of ‘sentimental traveller’. He’s not at fault at finding such a designation, as the journal of his travels is not a conventional one. Even though Yorick embarks on a journey to France and Italy, the reader barely learns of these, mostly because the author never...more
Jori Richardson
Dec 08, 2012 Jori Richardson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of 18th Century literature, those looking for a challenge
A book about a young man's travels, published in 1768.
Though this book was a bit tedious and dragged on about trivial events some, but nevertheless, I found it highly entertaining and funny. The writing style is decisively 18th Century, which I adored. As a warning, however, if you are not well versed in the language and customs of the 1700's, I would advise that you approach this book with a guide of some sort, to save yourself a headache.
All the scenes that involved women were hilarious. The b...more
Jes Battis
My battered copy of "A Sentimental Journey" identifies Sterne as a writer who knows how to slip in and out of conversation, as if he's been talking to you the whole time. The novel begins in mid-conversation, and ends in mid-sentence, just as the nameless protagonist is about to enter into a menage-a-trois (or maybe it's all going to become a farce--we can't tell). After slogging through "Pamela," I found Sterne's slim novel to be a pure delight. There's something undeniably sexy going on in thi...more
janine
Als Henry II Fix zich er ooit toe zou laten verleiden een grand tour te maken, zou hij dit boek geschreven kunnen hebben.

Uiteraard zou hij zijn verslag doorspekt hebben met verwijzingen naar de superioriteit van Zwolle en zijn bevindingen in Frankrijk en Italië gezien hebben als bewijs dat Zwolle een minstens zo aangename bestemming voor een grand tour is als Parijs of Turijn. Smelfungus en zijn soortgenoten zouden vervangen zijn door Feith en de Feithen. Daarnaast is Henry nog minder goed met...more
Rachel Brand
Read for:
EN3161: The Development of the Novel to 1840, 2012

This is probably my first dud of 2012. This short, unfinished novel had a few scenes in it that grabbed my attention but was otherwise rather uninspiring. Sometimes I just had absolutely no idea what was going on in this book, whereas at other points the story had some real potential and looked like it was going somewhere - and then it would jump to something else entirely and that thread of the story would be lost.

According to my lectu...more
Arukiyomi
Apparently there’s a movement in literature (and probably elsewhere in the arts) called sentimentalism. I read a bit about it and didn’t really understand it. I read this and didn’t really understand it either. Sterne is not known for this particular book being much better known for his Tristram Shandy novel which I’ve not read. If this is anything to go by, I’m not looking forward to that much.

Written on his deathbed, the novelist has one last foray into Europe on the picaresque bandwagon. Havi...more
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Laurence Sterne was an Irish-born English novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics. Sterne died in London after years of fighting consumption.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La...more
More about Laurence Sterne...
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey (Modern Library) A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings A Sentimental Journey with the Journal to Eliza and a Political Romance The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy -Vol I

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“Dear sensibility! Source inexhausted of all that's precious in our joys, or costly in our sorrows! Eternal fountain of our feelings! 'tis here I trace thee and this is thy divinity which stirs within me...All comes from thee, great-great SENSORIUM of the world!” 8 likes
“I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba, and cry, ‘Tis all barren—and so it is; and so is all the world to him who will not cultivate the fruits it offers. I declare, said I, clapping my hands chearily together, that was I in a desart, I would find out wherewith in it to call forth my affections—If I could not do better, I would fasten them upon some sweet myrtle, or seek some melancholy cypress to connect myself to—I would court their shade, and greet them kindly for their protection—I would cut my name upon them, and swear they were the loveliest trees throughout the desert: if their leaves wither’d, I would teach myself to mourn, and when they rejoiced, I would rejoice along with them.” 7 likes
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