The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Paperback)
This new edition of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is the first book published by Visual Editions: a new London-based book publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction who make use of what they call "visual writing." They believe books should be as visually compelling as the stories they tell, and their strapline is "great looking stories." Their aim to publish The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman as their first title is to show where the idea of "visual writing" originated, to show where it all began. The idea is to bring out the book's brilliance and playfulness again, to dust it down from its shoddy Dover Classics image and make it accessible and relevant again to a more contemporary audience. Visual Editions asked the designers to breathe new life into the book and told the designers to add new visual elements in as well. As long as they stayed faithful to Sterne's spirit, then VE were happy to let the designers roam. And so they did: a shut door is a folded page, perspiration is pages of dotted spot varnish and the marbled page is a moire of a black-and-white photograph (a nod to contemporary printing technologies, in the way that the marbled page was a result of technologies of the time). British author Will Self introduces the book, with the typically wonderful irreverence that Sterne himself would have loved.
"A lot of nonsense is written about Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and that's just as well. It would be depressing in the extreme if this triumphant tangling up of the threads of reason with the strands of linear narrative were to admit of any effective unravelling; which is as much to say, that were you to find yourself picking apart a lucid, non-discursive exposition of the novel its themes, its techniques, its plot you would know that you had finally gone mad." Will Self