Narrative, Nature, and the ‘Cock’ and ‘Bull’ Story: The Lockean Tristram Shandy and the Modern Novel

Narrative, Nature, and the Cock and Bull Story - Front Cover

Narrative, Nature, and the ‘Cock’ and ‘Bull’ Story: The Lockean Tristram Shandy and the Modern Novel is based on Tiller’s research as a graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her studies focused on Laurence Sterne‘s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760). Sterne’s novel has tremendous comedic appeal, but it is also noteworthy because Shandy narrates the tale as a string of digressions and tangents. This means Sterne’s novel is one of the first English novels to stray from Aristotle‘s classical literary guidelines as presented in his Poetics. In Narrative, Nature, and the ‘Cock’ and ‘Bull’ Story, Tiller applies concepts from John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding to explore how such deviations lead Tristram, in the series of events stemming from his birth, to a more precise imitation of nature than strict adherence to Aristotle’s guidelines could have procured.

Amanda Tiller is the Humanities Collections Development Librarian at the Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s. Before completing her Master of Library and Information Science at The University of Western Ontario, she completed her Master of Arts in English Language and Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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