A new genre of speculative writing created by the Editors of Evental Aesthetics, the Collision is a concise but pointed essay that introduces philosophical questions raised by a specific aesthetic experience. A Collision is not an entire, expository journey; not a full-fledged argument but the potential of an argument. A Collision is an encounter that is also a point of departure: the impact of a striking confrontation between experience, thought, and writing may propel later inquiries into being.
The aesthetic experience of Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is not reducible to an interpretation of plot or a linear critical analysis on the level of structure. Instead, it is thematized around a particular paradox of “double chronology” of autobiography, which continues the unfolding of the text yet simultaneously disrupts it. As such, Tristram Shandy’s lack of plot is a secondary phenomenon to the textual game of detour and digression it plays. This essay is less concerned with providing a closed argument and much more concerned with opening up inquiry into time and the aesthetics of reading with brief recourse to Paul Ricoeur and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Overall, I hope to indicate how Tristram Shandy provides a space wherein the pleasure of reading itself is disclosed.
Laurence Sterne, narratology, reading, time, hermeneutics
Adam Schipper, “The Pleasure of Reading: Playing Games with Time in Tristram Shandy,” Evental Aesthetics 3, no. 3 (2015): 18-27.