The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
"The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy" is a novel published between 1759 and 1767 by English novelist Laurence Sterne. Ostensibly a biography of its fictional eponymous character, the book features many digressions from its plot and is, therefore, viewed by many scholars as an early forerunner of post-modern literature.
The novel has more to do with Shandy family members and their foibles and history than it seemingly does with Tristram himself. However, it is through Tristram's relating the actions, beliefs, and opinions of his family members — primarily his father, Walter Shandy, and his paternal Uncle Toby — that the reader gets a clearer picture of Tristram's character.
Though dismissed by contemporary critics, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy"‘s popularity has endured—initially due to its bawdy humour and later as a major influence on modernist and post-modernist writers such as James Joyce, owing to its highly digressive narrative and absurdity.