• E. T. A. Hoffmann, parodic illustration (c. 1804, Plock) of the narrative structure of Laurence Sterne’s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–1767). Staatsbibliothek Bamberg, L.g.o.391e/B19. Photo: Gerald Raab.

Parodic illustration of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy

From The Director's Prism: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Russian Theatrical Avant-Garde by Dassia N. Posner

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  • E. T. A. Hoffmann’s drawing playfully illustrates the wildly nonlinear narrative structure of Laurence Sterne’s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–1767). Sterne, Hoffmann, and Meyerhold deeply valued what Sterne called “zig-zaggery” and Meyerhold’s colleague Samuil Vermel called the zigzag path of the artist, that is, artistic subjectivity, whimsy, and the use of the unexpected.*

    See book: frontispiece; p. 15, 16, 17; figure 5

    *Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Ware, U. K.: Wordsworth Editions, 1996), 109; Samuil Vermel’, “Ironiia i teatral’nost’,” Liubov’ k trem apel’sinam: Zhurnal Doktora Dapertutto 2 (1914): 44.

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  • Performing Arts
Date
  • c. 1804
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