News & Publications
St. John's Lecture on Laurence Sterne's Second Novel
FOR RELEASE: January 5, 2010
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey, 410-626-2539
Jeffrey Smith, a tutor at St. John’s College, will give a lecture on “Altruism in the Eyes of an Antichrist: On Laurence Sterne’s ‘Sentimental Journey.’” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium on Friday, January 22, at 8:15 p.m.
Says Smith, “Laurence Sterne is best known today for his great comic novel ‘Tristram Shandy.’ In Sterne’s own day, however, ‘Tristram Shandy’ scandalized all of Europe even as it sold extremely well, in no small part because the pervasive bawdiness in the novel issued forth from the pen of an Anglican priest. One of Sterne’s more passionate critics would go so far in 1760 as to ascribe authorship of ‘Tristram Shandy’ to ‘the hand of the Antichrist himself.’”
In response to this moral censure, Sterne promised that his second novel, ‘A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy’ would redeem the bawdiness of ‘Tristram Shandy’by “teach[ing] us to love the world and our fellow creatures better than we do.” Smith’s lecture examines Sterne’s presentation of human nature in the context of the novel’s interrelated themes of self-love, erotic desire, and natural morality.
Smith obtained his a doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago. He joined St. John’s College as a tutor in 2001.