Hard Cover. London: Printed for Cadell and Davies, 1819. Near Fine.
First edition thus. Four volumes. Finely bound by Birdsall in three-quarter brown spotted calf and tan cloth with five raised bands to spines, compartments decorated in blind and gilt, green and maroon contrasting spine labels lettered in gilt, blue endpapers, text block edges stained yellow. A near fine set, toning to spines and rubbing to joints, endpapers with some offsetting from calf turn-ins, very light scattered foxing, else very bright and clean in sturdy, fine bindings. This four-volume set contains Sterne's most notable works, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, along with a short autobiography of the author and several sermons. Written as a supposed autobiography of the titular character, Tristram Shandy was strongly influenced by the 16th century French pentalogy, Françoise Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel. Sterne emulates Rabelais' grotesque humor and satirical style, rejecting the solemn tone that occupied the writing of many of his contemporaries. In A Sentimental Journey, Sterne expands on the world he created in Tristram Shandy, telling the story of Mr. Yorick, one of the supporting characters in Sterne's earlier novel. This work contributed to the launch of the travel-writing boom in the late 18th century.