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Laurence Sterne

Laurence Sterne (1713 - 1768) was an Irish-born novelist and clergyman. He is best known for his novel Tristram Shandy[?].

Sterne was sent to Halifax in Yorkshire at an early age for his education. He later studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, before working as a clergyman in Yorkshire, eventually becoming a prebendary of York Minster.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy was published in several volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next ten years. It was not always highly thought of by other writers, but its bawdy humour was popular with London society. Today, it is seen as a forerunner of later stream of consciousness writing.

Later, Sterne published A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768) which was based on the travels in Europe he had undertaken because of his suffering from tuberculosis. Sterne also published a number of collections of sermons.

Sterne's books include a number of unusual alienating tehcniques, such as rows of asterisks and blank pages. These and other elements, such as Tristram Shandy beginning at the moment of Tristram's conception and the plot thereafter having no consistency or satisfactory conclusion are designed to parody the conventions of the still-young novel form.

Sterne died in London. His body was stolen by grave-robbers shortly after his death, and was the subject of an anatomical lecture at Cambridge before being returned to its grave.

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