Essays on Laurence Sterne and His Times in Honor of Melvyn New
Contributions by Joseph G. Kronick, Taylor Corse, James E. May, Martha F. Bowden, Eric Rothstein, Frank Palmeri, Elizabeth Kraft, W G. Day, Madeleine Descargues-Grant, Donald R. Wehrs Edited by W. B. Gerard, E Derek Taylor, Robert G. Walker
Publication date:07 April 2011
Length of book:312 pages
PublisherUniversity of Delaware Press
These thirteen essays have been collected to honor Melvyn New, professor emeritus (Florida), and are prefaced by a description of his scholarly career of more than forty years. Suggesting the wide range of that career, the first eight essays offer various critical perspectives on a diverse group of eighteenth-century authors. These include a reading of Eliot in the shadow of Pope; a comparison of Gainsborough’s final paintings and Sterne’s Sentimental Journey; a study of Johnson and casuistry; a discussion of Smollett’s view of slavery in Roderick Random; a bibliographical study of a Lyttelton poem; a comparison of Swift and Nietzsche; and two essays about Fielding’s Joseph Andrews. Laurence Sterne, the primary focus of Professor New’s scholarship, is also the focus of the final five essays, which treat Sterne in contexts as disparate as the kabbalah, abolitionist discourse, local English church politics, the use of the fragment, and, finally, the culture of modernity.
The essays gathered here represent the finest examples of some of the most influential currents in Sterne scholarship, reconstructing more precisely the popular and religious contexts of his writing, and situating that writing ever more creatively within an expanding empire and an unfolding modernity. Many of these essays are also marked by a particular approach to their subject. It has long been apparent to readers that Sterne’s work embraces seemingly contrary or even conflicting values: satire and sentiment, tradition and innovation, the bawdy and the pathetic, the earthly and the spiritual.