Laurence Sterne

Tristram Shandy
  • Tristram Shandy

    • Laurence Sterne

    • Adrian Scarborough (Read by)

    • David Troughton (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Julia Ford (Read by)

    • Neil Dudgeon (Read by)

    • Paul Ritter (Read by)

    A full-cast dramatisation of this comic tale about an eighteenth-century gentleman who tries to tell his life story, but continually finds that he must digress...

    Featuring some of the best-known and well-loved characters in English literature, including Uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Dr Slop and the Widow Wadman. Beginning (or attempting to begin) at the moment of his own conception, Tristram Shandy recounts his progress through the world and utterly fails to stick to the point.

    Sterne's comic masterpiece is an extravagantly inventive work which was hugely popular when first published in 1759, and is now considered a landmark in the history of the novel. Its often bawdy humour and numerous digressions are combined with bold literary experiments, and 260 years after its publication it remains one of the most influential and widely-admired books of the 18th century. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations.

    Also included in this release is a bonus programme - In Our Time: Tristram Shandy - in which Melvyn Bragg discusses the comic masterpiece with Professor Judith Hawley (University of London), Professor John Mullan (UCL) and Dr Mary Newbould (University of Cambridge).

    Tristram...Neil Dudgeon
    Mother...Julia Ford
    Father...David Troughton
    Uncle Toby...Adrian Scarborough
    Corporal Trim...Paul Ritter
    Dr Slop...Tony Rohr
    Obadiah...Stephen Hogan
    Susannah...Helen Longworth
    Great-Grandmother/Bridget...Ndidi Del Fatti
    Great-Grandfather/Pontificating Man/Death...Stuart Mcloughlin
    Bishop Hall/Le Fever...Hugh Dickson
    Widow Wadman...Deborah Findlay

    Dramatised by Graham White
    Directed and produced by Mary Peate
    A BBC Studios production

Born in Clonmel, Ireland, in 1713, Laurence Sterne spent the first ten years of his life moving from place to place within Ireland and also Yorkshire, as his father, an army ensign, was assigned and reassigned constantly. Educated at a grammar school near Halifax, Sterne took a place at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1733, two years after his father died of a fever in Jamaica. Going on to become a clergyman, he published four sermons during his lifetime - but it was for his literary works that he earned great acclaim, particularly The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, his nine-volume masterpiece, which made him a celebrity. Dogged by ill-health for much of his life, he took various recuperative trips to the continent, the experience of which formed the experience behind his final work, A Sentimental Journey, published barely three weeks before his death in London in 1768 at the age of fifty-four.

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