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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman


by Laurence Sterne

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

He had made it a rule for many years of his life,—on the first Sunday night of every month throughout the whole year,—as certain as ever the Sunday night came,—to wind up a large house clock which we had standing upon the backstairs head, with his own hands:— (1.4.6)

Mr. Shandy lives by the clock, doing everything according to a schedule that he imposes on himself. (Parents are so uncool.) Naturally, Tristram rebels by playing fast and loose with time. He's a regular James Dean.

Quote #2

I declare I have been at it these six weeks, making all the speed I possibly could,—and am not yet born:—I have just been able, and that's all, to tell you when it happened" (1.14.2)

Writing stretches out time in a way that living doesn't. As anyone who's ever read a trashy book on a plane knows, reading (and writing) let us experience time in different ways—short, long, and—so much for time machines—even backwards.

Quote #3

"Pray what was the man's name,--for I write in such a hurry, I have no time to recollect or look for it" (1.21.3)

Writing is as a race against time. He's in such a hurry that he can't even be bothered to check Wikipedia and get his facts straight. How much do facts matter, anyway? (Don't bother asking a history teacher.)

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