The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, also known as just Tristram Shandy, is a novel by Laurence Sterne. It purports to be a biography of the eponymous character. Its style is marked by digression, double entendre, and graphic devices.
Sterne had read widely, which is reflected in Tristram Shandy. Many of his similes, for instance, are reminiscent of the works of the metaphysical poets of the 17th century, and the novel as a whole, with its focus on the problems of language, has constant regard for John Locke's theories in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
Arthur Schopenhauer cited Tristram Shandy as one of the greatest novels ever written.
Laurence Sterne (24 November 1713 – 18 March 1768) was an Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He wrote the novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, and also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics. Sterne died in London after years of fighting tuberculosis.