For the last eight years of his life after this sudden leap out of obscurity we have a faithful record of Sterne's feelings and movements in letters to various persons, published in 1 775 by his sole child and daughter, Lydia Sterne de Medalle, and in the Letters from Yorick to Eliza (1766-1767), also published in 1775.
The familiarity thus acquired with military life and character stood Sterne in good stead when he drew the portraits of Uncle Toby and Corporal Trim.
Dr Ferriar, in his Illustrations of Sterne (published in 1798), pointed out several unacknowledged plagiarisms from Rabelais, Burton and others; but it is only fair to the critic to say that he was fully aware that they were only plagiarisms of material, and do not detract in the slightest from Sterne's reputation as one of the greatest of literary artists.
LAURENCE STERNE (1713-1768), English humorist, was the son of Roger Sterne, an English officer, and great-grandson of an archbishop of York.
Anne was particularly amenable to the influence of priestly and female favourites, and it must be considered a proof of the strong interest made for Swift that she was eventually persuaded to appoint him to the deanery of St Patrick's, Dublin, vacant by the removal of Bishop Sterne to Dromore.
Cross, The Life and Times of Laurence Sterne (New York, 1909); and Walter Sichel, Sterne: a Study (1910).
Without Stevenson, Sterne would probably have been a more decorous parish priest, but he would probably never have written Tristram Shandy or left any other memorial of his singular genius.
But the reader who cares to have an opinion about Sterne should hesitate till he has read and re-read in various moods considerable portions of Sterne's own writing.