Tristram Shandy and the Dialectic of Enlightenment


1. Auflage, 1999
179 Seiten

ISBN: 978-3-8253-0927-5
Sortiment: Buch
Ausgabe: Gebunden
Fachgebiet: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Reihe: Anglistische Forschungen, Band: 269
lieferbar: 02.08.1999

Schlagwörter: Literaturgeschichte, Sterne, Laurence, Großbritannien, Aufklärung


‘Tristram Shandy and the Dialectic of Enlightenment’ attempts a reconciliation of two dominant strands in ‘Shandy’ criticism. Post-modernist readings have done justice to the fact that Sterne seems an uncannily modern writer, but they have largely wrested his work from its eighteenth-century context; a counter-trend, while laudably insisting that he be viewed in his historical context, has underestimated Sterne’s critical potential. ‘Tristram Shandy’ is here considered in the context of eighteenth-century rationalism and sentimentalism and shown to be more radical in its critique of both enlightened science and ‘morals sense’ philosophy than has previously been recognized. By reading ‘Tristram Shandy’ against the foil of Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’, this study shows it to be a brilliantly balanced and perceptive anticipation of modern insights into the ambivalence of enlightened thinking and its applications.

Essential for this reading is a reinterpr‘Tristram Shandy and the Dialectic of Enlightenment’ attempts a reconciliation of two dominant strands in ‘Shandy’ criticism. Post-modernist readings have done justice to the fact that Sterne seems an uncannily modern writer, but they have largely wrested his work from its eighteenth-century context; a counter-trend, while laudably insisting that he be viewed in his historical context, has underestimated Sterne’s critical potential. ‘Tristram Shandy’ is here considered in the context of eighteenth-century rationalism and sentimentalism and shown to be more radical in its critique of both enlightened science and ‘morals sense’ philosophy than has previously been recognized. By reading ‘Tristram Shandy’ against the foil of Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’, this study shows it to be a brilliantly balanced and perceptive anticipation of modern insights into the ambivalence of enlightened thinking and its applications.

Essential for this reading is a reinterpretation of Tristram’s characteristically digressive narrative technique. More consistently than has hitherto been recognized, this digressive style can be accounted for by the inner logic of the book: it is here shown to be Tristram’s ingeniously handled weapon in a war of defence against the readers.
etation of Tristram’s characteristically digressive narrative technique. More consistently than has hitherto been recognized, this digressive style can be accounted for by the inner logic of the book: it is here shown to be Tristram’s ingeniously handled weapon in a war of defence against the readers.