At the beginning of the narrative the narrator warns the reader that in his notes he will not adhere to any rules for creating a literary work, he will not observe the laws of the genre and adhere to the chronology.
Tristram Shandy was born on November 5, 1718, but his misadventures, according to his own statement, began exactly nine months ago, at the time of conception, since my mother, who knew about the unusual punctuality of her father, at the most inopportune moment, inquired whether he had forgotten to wind up the clock. The hero bitterly regrets that he was born “on our scabby and unfortunate land,” and not on the Moon or, say, on Venus. Tristram tells in detail about his family, claiming that all Shandy are weird. He devotes many pages to his uncle Toby, an indefatigable warrior, whose oddities were the beginning of a wound in the groin he received during the siege of Namur. This gentleman could not recover from his wound for four years. He got a map of Namur and, without getting out of bed, played out all the vicissitudes of the fatal battle for him. His servant Trim, a former corporal,
Shandy describes the story of his birth, while referring to his mother’s marriage contract, under which the child must certainly be born in the village, at the estate of Shandihol, and not in London, where experienced doctors could provide assistance to the woman in labor. This played a big role in the life of Tristram and, in particular, affected the shape of his nose. Just in case the father of a future child invites to the wife of the village doctor, Elephant. While the birth takes place, three men – father Shandy William, Uncle Toby and the doctor are sitting down by the fireplace and discussing various topics. Leaving the gentlemen to talk, the narrator again goes on to describe the oddities of his family members. His father adhered to extraordinary and eccentric views on dozens of things. For example, I was addicted to some Christian names with total rejection of others. Especially hateful for him was the name Tristram. Concerned about the upcoming birth of his offspring, the venerable gentleman carefully studied the literature on obstetrics and made sure that in the usual way of birth the cerebellum of the child suffers, namely, in it, in his opinion, is the “main sensoria or the main apartment of the soul.” Thus, he sees the best way out in Caesarean section, citing the example of Julius Caesar, Scipio of Africa and other eminent personalities. His wife, however, was of a different opinion.
Dr. Slop sent a servant Obadiah for medical instruments, but he, fearing to lose them on the way, tied the bag so tightly that when they were needed and the bag was finally broken, in the midst of the confusion, obstetric forceps were put on Uncle Toby’s arm, and his brother was glad, that the first experience was not made on the head of his child.
Distracting from the description of his difficult birth, Shandy returns to Uncle Toby and the fortifications erected with Corporal Trim in the village. Walking with her girlfriend and showing her these wonderful buildings, Trim stumbled and, pulling Brigitta, fell heavily on the bridge, which immediately collapsed into pieces. For days on end Uncle reflects on the construction of the new bridge. And when Trim entered the room and said that Dr. Slip was busy in the kitchen making a bridge, Uncle Toby imagined that it was a destroyed military facility. What was the grief of William Shandy, when it became clear that this is a “bridge” for the nose of a newborn, to whom the doctor flattened it with his tools into a flat cake. In this regard, Shandy reflects on the size of the noses, Since the dogma of the advantage of long noses before short ones took roots in their family for three generations. Father Shandy reads classical authors who mention noses. Here is the story of Slokenberg, translated by him. It tells about how in Strasbourg one day a stranger arrived on a mule, struck everyone with the size of his nose. The townspeople argue about what it is made of, and strive to touch it. The stranger reports that he visited Cape Nosov and got one of the most outstanding specimens ever received by a man. When the turmoil in the city ended and everyone lay down in their beds, the queen Mab took the nose of an alien and divided it into all the inhabitants of Strasbourg, as a result of which Alsace became the possession of France. mentioning of noses. Here is the story of Slokenberg, translated by him. It tells about how in Strasbourg one day a stranger arrived in the mule, striking everyone with the size of his nose. The townspeople argue about what it is made of, and strive to touch it. The stranger reports that he visited Cape Nosov and got one of the most outstanding specimens ever received by a man. When the turmoil in the city ended and everyone lay down in their beds, the queen Mab took the nose of an alien and divided it into all the inhabitants of Strasbourg, as a result of which Alsace became the possession of France. mentioning of noses. Here is the story of Slokenberg, translated by him. It tells about how in Strasbourg one day a stranger arrived in the mule, striking everyone with the size of his nose. The townspeople argue about what it is made of, and strive to touch it. The stranger reports that he visited Cape Nosov and got one of the most outstanding specimens ever received by a man. When the turmoil in the city ended and everyone lay down in their beds, the queen Mab took the nose of an alien and divided it into all the inhabitants of Strasbourg, as a result of which Alsace became the possession of France. and seek to touch it. The stranger reports that he visited Cape Nosov and got one of the most outstanding specimens ever received by a man. When the turmoil in the city ended and everyone lay down in their beds, the queen Mab took the nose of...
The family of Shandi, afraid that the newborn will give his soul to God, hastens to baptize him. The father chooses his name Trismegistus. But the maid carrying the child to the priest, forgets such a difficult word, and the child is mistakenly called Tristram. Father in an indescribable grief: as you know, this name was especially hated for him. Together with his brother and a priest, he goes to a certain Didia, an authority in the field of church law, to consult whether it is possible to change the situation. Clergymen argue among themselves, but in the end they come to the conclusion that this is impossible.
The hero receives a letter about the death of his elder brother Bobby. He reflects on how different historical figures experienced the death of their children. When Mark Tullius Cicero lost his daughter, he bitterly mourned for her, but, plunging into the world of philosophy, he found that so many beautiful things can be said about death, that it gives him joy. Shandy’s father was also inclined to philosophy and eloquence and consoled himself with it.
Priest Yorik, a family friend who has long served in this area, visits Shandy’s father, who complains that it is difficult for Tristram to perform religious rites. They discuss the question of the fundamentals of the relationship between father and son, according to which the father acquires the right and authority over him, and the problem of further education of Tristram. Uncle Toby recommends young Lefevre to the tutors and tells his story. One evening, Uncle Toby sat at dinner, when suddenly the owner of a country inn came into the room. He asked for a glass of another wine for one poor gentleman, Lieutenant Lefevre, who had fallen ill a few days ago. Lefebvre had a son of eleven or twelve. Uncle Toby decided to visit the gentleman and found out that he had served with him in the same regiment. When Lefebvre died, Uncle Toby buried him with military honors and took custody of the boy. He gave it to a public school, and then when the young Aéfevre asked permission to try his luck in the war with the Turks, he handed him his father’s sword and left him as his own son. But the young man began to pursue failure, he lost both health and service – all but the sword, and returned to Uncle Toby. It happened just when Tristram was looking for a mentor.
The narrator again returns to Uncle Toby and talks about how an uncle who had been afraid of women all his life – partly because of his injury – fell in love with Mrs Wodman’s widow.
Tristram Shandy goes on a journey to the continent, on the way from Dover in Calais, he suffers from seasickness. Describing the sights of Calais, he calls the city “the key of two kingdoms.” Further his way follows through Boulogne and Montreuil. And if in Boulogne nothing attracts the attention of the traveler, then the only attraction of Montreuil is the daughter of the innkeeper. Finally, Shandy arrives in Paris and reads the inscription on the portico of the Louvre: “There is no such people in the world, no people have a city equal to this”. Reflecting on where they travel faster – in France or in England, he can not help telling the anecdote about how Abbess Anduite and the young novice Margarita traveled to the waters, having lost mule drivers on the way.
After traveling several cities, Shandy goes to Lyon, where he is going to inspect the mechanism of the tower clock and visit the Great Jesuit Library to get acquainted with the thirty-volume history of China, while acknowledging that he does not understand anything either in watch movements or in Chinese. His attention is also drawn to the tomb of two lovers, separated by cruel parents. Amandus was captured by the Turks and taken to the court of the Moroccan emperor, where the princess falls in love with him and languishes him for twenty years in prison for the love of Amanda. Amanda at the same time, barefoot and with her hair loose, wanders through the mountains, looking for Amandus. But one night the event leads them at the same time to the gates of Lyon. They rush into each other’s arms and fall dead with joy. When Shandy, touched by the history of lovers, gets to the place of their tomb,
Shandy, wanting to bring the latest twists and turns of his voyage into travel notes, climbs behind them in the pocket of his jacket and discovers that they are stolen. Loudly calling out to everyone around him, he compares himself with Sancho Panza, who cried out on the occasion of the loss of his donkey’s harness. Finally, torn notes are found on the head of the cartwright’s wife in the form of a papillotok.
Passing through Aangedok, Shandy is convinced of the lively ease of the locals. Dancing peasants invite him to their company. “Having danced through Narbonne, Carcassonne and Castellnodarn,” he takes a pen to go back to the love affairs of Uncle Toby. Then follows a detailed description of the techniques by which the widow of Wodman finally conquers his heart. Shandy’s father, who used the reputation of an expert on women, wrote a letter to his brother about the nature of the female, and Corporal Trim, in the same connection, tells the master about his brother’s novel with the widow of a Jewish sausage-maker. The novel ends with a lively conversation about the bull of Obadiah’s servant, and to the question of Shandy’s mother: “What story do they tell?” Yorik replies: “About the White Bull, and one of the best I’ve ever heard.”