Concluding Along Shandean Lines

Carol Watts

in The Cultural Work of Empire

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625642
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671717 | DOI:
Concluding Along Shandean Lines

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It has been reflected in this book that it is the climate of the Seven Years' War, shaped by a ‘global’ imperial conflict reaching tentacularly across continents, which is constitutive of the writerly dilemmas of Laurence Sterne's narratives; a crucible for the subjective universe they continuously unravel. The serpentine line, crazily idiosyncratic and ‘Shandean’ in its predilections, draws a self whose desires and imagination run across limits, stylistic individuation scripting its wayward tag against the grain of order and convention. Sterne's wayward lines trouble the ordered economy built on an imperial recta via and its careful calibration of the nonfreedom of others. His sermon on feasting and mourning indicates a sanguinity about the wild zone of the imagination. A deeper, unconditional gravity at the heart of Shandean wit, played out in its lesson to the world, ‘to let people tell their stories their own way’.

Keywords: Seven Years' War; Laurence Sterne; Shandean wit; serpentine line; economy

Chapter.  7122 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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