The first two volumes of Tristram Shandy were issued at York in 1759 and advertised in London on the 1st of January 1760, and at once made a sensation.
The work is allowed to stand still while the writer is being transported from Shandy Hall to Languedoc. The only progress we make is in the illustration of the buoyant and joyous temper of Tristram himself, who, after all, is a member of the Shandy family, and was due a volume for the elucidation of his character.
After seeing to the publication of this instalment of Tristram and of another set of sermons - more pronouncedly Shandean in their eccentricity - he quitted England again in the summer of 1765, and tavelled in Italy as far as Naples.
The ship that was to bring Iseult to the mortally wounded Tristram was to hoist a white sail if she was on board, a black sail if she was not.
Sterne's clerical character was far from being universally injured by his indecorous freaks as a humorist: Lord Fauconberg presented the author of Tristram Shandy with the perpetual curacy of Coxwold.
Second edition of the first instalment of Tristram was called for in three months, two volumes of Sermons by Yorick were announced.
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.
Nearly all our information about the first forty-six years of his life before he became famous as the author of Tristram Shandy is derived from a short memoir jotted down by himself for the use of his daughter.