The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Quotes

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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Quotes Showing 1-30 of 88
“I begin with writing the first
sentence—and trusting to Almighty
God for the second.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Human nature is the same in all professions.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Shall we for ever make new books, as apothecaries make new mixtures, by pouring only out of one vessel into another?”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Keyholes are the occasions of more sin and wickedness, than all other holes in this world put together.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“I have undertaken, you see, to write not only my life, but my opinions also; hoping and expecting that your knowledge of my character, and of what kind of a mortal I am, by the one, would give you a better relish for the other: As you proceed further with me, the slight acquaintance which is now beginning betwixt us, will grow into familiarity; and that, unless one of us is in fault, will terminate in friendship.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“I have a strong propensity in me to begin this chapter very nonsensically, and I will not balk my fancy.--Accordingly I set off thus:”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“The availability of books is not the same as reading them, nor reading the same as understanding them.”
Ian Campbell Ross, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“…so long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King's highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him,--pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?”
Laurence Sterne, 1713-1768, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“To write a book is for all the world like humming a song—be but in tune with yourself, madam, 'tis no matter how high or how low you take it.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“If death, said my father, reasoning with himself, is nothing but the separation of the soul from the body;--and if it is true that people can walk about and do their business without brains,--then certes the soul does not inhabit there.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing; that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost: Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly, I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“« Je suis persuadé que chaque fois qu'un homme sourit et mieux encore lorsqu'il rit, il ajoute quelque chose à la durée de sa vie.»”
Sterne Laurence, Vie et opinions de Tristram Shandy, gentilhomme
“Alas, poor YORICK!”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;—they are the life, the soul of reading;—take them out of this book for instance,—you might as well take the book along with them;”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“It is the nature of an hypothesis, when once a man has conceived it, that it assimulates every thing to itself as proper nourishment; and, from the first moment of your begetting it, it generally grows the stronger by every thing you see, hear, read, or understand.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“[O]f all the several ways of beginning a book which are now in practice throughout the known world, I am confident my own way of doing it is the best—I'm sure it is the most religious—for I begin with writing the first sentence—and trusting to Almighty God for the second.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Now there is nothing in this world I abominate worse, than to be interrupted in a story...”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“I define a nose, as follows,—intreating only beforehand, and beseeching my readers, both male and female, of what age, complexion, and condition soever, for the love of God and their own souls, to guard against the temptations and suggestions of the devil, and suffer him by no art or wile to put any other ideas into their minds, than what I put into my definition.—For by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs,—I declare, by that word I mean a Nose, and nothing more, or less.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Cursed luck! —said he, biting his lip as he shut the door, —for man to be master of one of the finest chains of reasoning in nature, —and have a wife at the same time with such a head-piece, that he cannot hang up a single inference within side of it, to save his soul from destruction.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“—My brother Toby, quoth she, is going to be married to Mrs. Wadman.
—Then he will never, quoth my father, be able to lie diagonally in his bed again as long as he lives.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“There are a thousand unnoticed openings, continued my father, which let a penetrating eye at once into a man's soul; and I maintain it, added he, that a man of sense does not lay down his hat in coming into a room, -- or take it up in going out of it, but something escapes, which discovers him.”
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
“I know there are readers in the world, as well as many other good people in it, who are no readers at all,—who find themselves ill at ease, unless they are let into the whole secret from first to last, of every thing which concerns you.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“I am this month one whole year older than I was this time twelve-month; and having got, as you perceive, almost into the middle of my fourth volume—and no farther than to my first day's life—'tis demonstrative that I have three hundred and sixty-four days more life to write just now, than when I first set out; so that instead of advancing, as a common writer, in my work with what I have been doing at it—on the contrary, I am just thrown so many volumes back—”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Now don't let us give ourselves a parcel of airs, and pretend that the oaths we make free with in this land of liberty of ours are our own; and because we have the spirit to swear them,—imagine that we have had the wit to invent them too.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
tags: oaths, wit
“The chamber-maid had left no ******* *** under the bed:—Cannot you contrive, master, quoth Susannah, lifting up the sash with one hand, as she spoke, and helping me up into the window seat with the other,—cannot you manage, my dear, for a single time to **** *** ** *** ******?”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“But desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it. The”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“There is not an oath, or at least a curse amongst them, which has not been copied over and over again out of Ernulphus a thousand times but, like all other copies, how infinitely short of the force and spirit of the original! It is thought to be no bad oath - and by itself passes very well - "God damn you" - Set it beside Ernulphus's - "God Almighty the Father damn you - God the Son damn you - God the Holy Ghost damn you" - you see 'tis nothing. - There is an orientality in his, we cannot rise up to.”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“I wish my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me;”
Lawrence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“—for though he never after went to the house, yet he never met Bridget in the village, but he would either nod or wink, or smile, or look kindly at her,—or (as circumstances directed), he would shake her by the hand,—or ask her lovingly how she did,—or would give her a ribban,—and now and then, though never but when it could be done with decorum, would give Bridget a—”
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
“Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation. As no one, who knows what he is about in good company, would venture to talk all, so no author, who understands the just boundaries of decorum and good breeding, would presume to think all. The truest respect which you can pay to the reader's understanding, is to halve this matter amicably, and leave him something to imagine, in his turn, as well as yourself.”
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy Newly Explained

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