Study Guide

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Book 1, Chapter 11

By Laurence Sterne

Book 1, Chapter 11

  • This parson's name was Yorick, and he came from a very old Danish family. Sound familiar?
  • Tristram suspects he was the very Yorick of Shakespeare's Hamlet, but he leaves it up to the reader to figure out the facts. He hints at a later travel narrative based on his time as governor to Mr. Noddy's eldest son, and then makes a racist claim about the Danish—they're all the same. No geniuses, but lots of pleasant folk.
  • The English, on the other hand, are all over the map. Some are total dunces, and some are whip-smart. But Yorick wasn't much like a Dane. He was a whimsical guy, always getting into trouble. He loved life and hated people who used being serious to cover up stupidity.