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Laurence Sterne: A sentimental picture

Friday 8 June 2018, 6.30PM


  • Jon Mee (Department of English and Related Literature and Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York)
  • Patrick Wildgust (Curator, Laurence Sterne Trust, Shandy Hall, Coxwold)
  • Nick Thurston (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds)
  • Caleb Klaces (School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy, York St John University)

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the death of novelist Laurence Sterne and of the publication of his last book, A Sentimental Journey.

Taking their cue from Sterne - who famously wrote about the impossibility of writing - our speakers and performers examine the theme of writing the impossible and the impossibility of writing. Join them for a performance, film and talks, as they illuminate our Festival theme and the life of Sterne.

One of the most distinctive figures of 18th-century literature, Sterne has strong associations with York, working as a clergyman at the nearby village of Coxwold. The first two volumes of his most famous novel, The Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, were published in York at the end of 1759 and sold by John Hinxman of Stonegate, successor to John Hildyard, who had published some of Sterne’s earlier writing.

Coinciding with the opening of a new exhibition on A Sentimental Journey in Coxwold, Jon Mee of the University of York, Patrick Wildgust of Shandy Hall, Nick Thurston of the University of Leeds and Caleb Klaces of York St John University, explain why, for Sterne, life really was a sentimental journey.

You’ll also discover why a mysterious painting owned by the Hildyard family in Yok - which appears to show characters from Tristram Shandy - can be seen as an emblem for Sterne and his writing.

This is a ticketed event.  See York Festival of Ideas website for booking information.

Location: King's Manor, Exhibition Square, York