Book Report On Laurence Sterne's "A Sentimental Journey"

1408 words - 6 pages

-In what ways can "A Sentimental Journey" be seen as a sentimental novel or a dramatization of the importance of sensibility?Laurence Sterne's travel-book, which is called "A Sentimental Journey", was written in 1765 and in this book the author describes his travels through France and Italy from a different point of view. His style is different from the other travel-books of that time. He mostly describes his feelings and emotions. As it can be derived from the title of the book, Sterne's journey is a sentimental one, in which he can express his feelings and emotions. He does not give importance to places, monuments, statues and etc. "When he visits a place that offers nothing to his sensibility, he will say nothing of it." (Sterne, xvii) instead of telling the physical descriptions or physical beauties, he prefers to describe feelings, so that sometimes you cannot decide whether is it a fiction or a fact. The book mostly tells us about the attraction between men and women. "The main theme of the book is the connection between sexual attraction and the finer feelings in man and woman..." The connection between sexual attraction and finer feeling between men and women are important in the book. This connection is the combination of sentiment "with a sophisticated eroticism." (Sterne, xx) The protagonist and the narrator of the book, Mr.Yorick follows his senses through his journey. According to its dictionary meaning sentiment means that "it is the expression of an attitude or opinion or "the display of emotional feelings" (Oxford Pocket Dictionary, 375) Mr.Yorick is displaying his emotional feelings and his journey is a sentimental one, in which he expresses his feelings and emotions, but majority of his feelings are sexual towards women. Mr.Yorick sees himself as both a traveller and a merchant who makes sentimental commerce. The reason of travelling is important. There should be a serious reason to travel; therefore he makes some distinctions between travellers. The most important reason is to gain knowledge and to learn new things by travelling, but while sailing the traveller man should be wise in order to be successful. "Knowledge and improvements are to be got by sailing and posting for that purpose, but whether useful knowledge and real improvements, is all a lottery-" (Sterne, 12) so that as a wise man and as a sentimental traveller he wants to learn different things and emotions, feelings; as he says "As an English man does not travel to see English men." (Sterne,13), he does not travel to see the same things.Therefore, he is a sentimental traveller and he should be sentimental but at the same time sensibility should also be important for him; because he should be able to feel and respond. As the dictionary meaning, sensibility is "The ability to feel and receive delicate impressions." (Oxford Pocket Dictionary, 118) Sensibility and sentimentalism are both required for him. Laurence Sterne, tells about some incidents, events, memories...

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