Tristram Shandy is out and about


ITEM:In Germany, Sterne's work was quickly celebrated by Goethe and the Romantic movement, influencing the young Karl Marx who wrote a novel in imitation, and defended his own comic dissent in struggles with the Prussian censor in Shandean terms: "If seriousness is not to come under Tristram Shandy's definition according to which it is a hypocritical behaviour of the body in order to conceal defects of the soul, then... I treat the ludicrous seriously when I treat it ludicrously, and the most serious immodesty of the mind is to be modest in the face of immodesty."


I apologise for such an obscure introductory passage as the one above. I was seeking a link between the young Karl Marx and Laurence Sterne, the author of Tristram Shandy. TS may not be in everyone's library --and if the truth be known this early, it's not in mine either -- but it has a reputation of sorts and in pursuit of that reputation I have been trying to track down a copy.
Why this side of the 20th century should a copy of such an archaic idiosyncratic novel be so hard to come by? (I ask myself or anyone else who is listening) And why should I have to settle for Sentimental Journey and Other Writings while I continue my hot pursuit?
Yes I know that the text can be read on the web but thats' one screen shot after another. Bah! Give me hard copy.
As you see my interest is peaked: Lawrence Sterne - Karl Marx? when I always thought that it was Honore Balzac who was Marx's favorite. So what gives with this 18th century clergyman who is only indirectly recalled today because a brand of cereal products-- Uncle Tobys -- is named after one of his characters.
Who today goes by a similar Marxian attribute? Karl Marx's Wheat Chrispies?
Unlikley. Sterne's "Uncle Toby" has really landed on his feet as he now owns : asia@home, Bluebird, Breakfree, Cornwell's, Country Cup, Crisco, Defiance, ETA, Gold'n Canola, Healthwise, Holbrooks, Le Snak, Logicol, Meadow Lea, Mrs McGregor's, Olivani, Olive Grove, Pampas, Paul Newman's Own, Praise, Roll-Ups, Vetta, Vita Brits, White Wings..as well as his namesake 'family' brand.
So from within the pages of such a novel Karl Marx drew inspiration and Australasia's largest food manufacturer markets stuff.
Who would have guessed?
But then I think that may indeed be a Sterne like attribute.

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an nightmare on the brains of the living... MORE>
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon by Karl Marx

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