Thesis - Open Access
Bachelor of Arts
Tristram Shandy, Agostino Ramelli, Book wheel, Intertext, Mechanics, Intellectual history, Machines, Eighteenth century
Of the many devices and doodads Laurence Sterne describes in Tristram Shandy (1759-67), the most surprising remains the machinery of Tristram Shandy itself. I use Sterne's frequent descriptions of Tristram Shandy as a machine to question how texts behave as (faulty and outdated) technologies in this eighteenth-century text. I look at Agostino Ramelli's book wheel--a sixteenth century device which allows its user to quickly cross-reference various texts--to illustrate the latent challenges in Sterne's book-machine metaphor. My essay suggests that Sterne's various registers of literary allusion signal moments in which the book realizes its potential, but also its limitations, as a veritable form of machinery.
Cohn, Maxwell Harrison, "The Mechanical Aspirations of Written Things in Sterne's Tristram Shandy" (2014). Honors Papers. 280.