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Title: Laurence Sterne in Germany

Author: Harvey W. Hewett-Thayer

Release date: August 3, 2008 [eBook #26183]
Most recently updated: January 3, 2021

Language: English

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A Contribution to the Study of the
Literary Relations of England and
Germany in the Eighteenth Century




Copyright 1905, Columbia University Press, New York



Mr. Thayer has undertaken to write, in detail and from the sources, the history of Sterne’s vogue in Germany. As thus broadly defined the task had not before been attempted, although phases of it had been treated, more or less thoroughly, in recent monographs. The work here submitted, the result of careful research in a number of American and European libraries, is in my judgment an interesting and valuable contribution to our knowledge of the literary relations of England and Germany at the time of the great renascence of German letters.

Calvin Thomas.

Columbia University, May, 1905.


The following study was begun in the autumn of 1901, and was practically finished now more than a year ago. Since its completion two works of interest to lovers of Sterne have been issued, Czerny’s study of Sterne’s influence upon Hippel and Jean Paul, a work which the present author had planned as a continuation of this book, and Prof. Cross’s new definitive edition of Sterne.

I desire here to express my thanks to Prof. W. H. Carpenter, Prof. Calvin Thomas and Prof. W. P. Trent, under whose guidance my last year of University residence was spent: their interest in my work was generous and unfailing; their admirable scholarship has been and will continue to be an inspiration. I am indebted to Prof. Carpenter and Prof. Thomas for many helpful suggestions regarding the present work, and the latter especially has given freely of his valuable time to a consideration of my problems. I am grateful also to several other friends for helpful and kindly service, and to many librarians in this country and in Europe for their courtesy.

New York, May 1, 1905.


Chapter I. Introduction 1
Chapter II.

Sterne in Germany before the Publication of The Sentimental Journey

Chapter III.

The Publication of The Sentimental Journey

Chapter IV.

Sterne in Germany after the Publication of The Sentimental Journey

Chapter V.

Sterne’s Influence in Germany

Chapter VI.

Imitators of Sterne

Chapter VII.

Opposition to Sterne and His Type of Sentimentalism

Chapter VIII. Bibliography 183
Index 196


The indebtedness of German culture to other peoples has been the theme of much painstaking investigation. The history of German literature is, in large measure, the story of its successive periods of connection with the literatures of other lands, and hence scholars have sought with industry and insight to bound and explain such literary inter-relations.

The latter half of the eighteenth century was a period of predominant English influence. The first half of the century had fostered this ascendency through the popularity of the moral weeklies, the religious epic, and the didactic poetry of Britain. Admiration for English ideals was used as a weapon to combat French dominion in matters of taste, till a kind of Anglomania spread, which was less absolute than the waning Gallomania had been, only in such measure as the nature of the imitated lay nearer the German spirit and hence allowed and cherished a parallel independence rather than demanded utter subjection. Indeed, the study of English masters may be said to have contributed more than any other external cause to the golden age of German letters; to have worked with untold beneficence in bringing faltering Germany to a consciousness of her own inherent possibilities. This fact of foreign awakening of national greatness through kinship of inborn racial characteristics removes the seeming inconsistency that British influence was paramount at the very time of Germany’s most individual, most national, outburst.

The German literary world concerned itself zealously with each new development across the channel. The German literary periodicals were diligent and alert in giving their subscribers 2 adequate intelligence concerning new books in England,1 and various journals2 devoted exclusively to a retailing of English thought for German readers are by their very existence eloquent testimony to the supreme interest in things British. Through the medium of these literary journals, intelligence concerning British literary interests was disseminated, and the way was thus prepared for the reception of the British authors themselves. Every English writer of eminence, every English literary movement was in some way or other echoed in the literature of the German fatherland. English authors were read in the original, and in numerous and popular translations. A German following is a well-nigh certain inference from an English success. Sometimes the growth of German appreciation and imitation was immediate and contemporaneous, or nearly so, with the English interest, as in the case of the German enthusiasm for Bishop Percy’s “Reliques.” At other times it tarried behind the period of interest in England, and was gradual in its development. The suggestion that a book, especially a novel, was translated from the English was an assurance of its receiving consideration, and many original German novels were published under the guise of English translations. Hermes roguishly avoids downright falsehood, and yet avails himself of this popular trend by describing his “Miss Fanny Wilkes” upon the title page as “So gut als aus dem Englischen übersetzt,” and printing “so gut als” in very small type. Müller in a letter3 to Gleim, dated at Cassel, May 27, 1781, proposes to alter names in Liscow’s works and to 3 publish his books as an English translation: “Germany would read him with delight,” he says, and Gleim, in his reply, finds the idea “splendid.” Out of this one reads clearly how the Germany of that time was hanging on the lips of England.

As has been suggested, conscious or unconscious imitation in the home literature is the unavoidable result of admiration for the foreign; imitation of English masters is written large on this period of German letters. Germany is especially indebted to the stirring impulse of the English novel.

The intellectual development of a people is observable in its successive periods of interest in different kinds of narration, in its attitude toward the relation of fictitious events. The interest in the extraordinary always precedes that in the ordinary; the unstored mind finds pleasure only in the unusual. An appreciation of the absorbing, vital interest of everyday existence is the accomplishment of reflective training, and betokens the spiritualized nature. Yet it must be observed in passing that the crude interest of unschooled ignorance, and undeveloped taste in the grotesque, the monstrous, the unreal, is not the same as the intellectual man’s appreciation of the unreal in imagination and fancy. The German novel had passed its time of service under the wild, extraordinary and grotesque. The crudities of such tales of adventure were softened and eliminated by the culturing influence of formal classicism and by a newly won admiration for the everyday element in life, contemporaneous with and dependent upon the gradual appreciation of middle-class worth. At this point the English novel stepped in as a guide, and the gradual shaping of the German novel in the direction of an art-form is due primarily to the prevailing admiration of English models.

The novel has never been a characteristic method of German self-expression, while if any form of literary endeavor can be designated as characteristically English, the novel may claim this distinction; that is, more particularly the novel as distinguished from the romance. “Robinson Crusoe” (1719) united the elements of the extraordinary and the everyday, being the practical, unromantic account of a remarkable situation; and its extensive vogue in Germany, the myriad confessed imitations, 4 may be said to form a kind of transition of interests. In it the commonplace gains interest through the extraordinary situation. Such an awakening assures a certain measure of interest remaining over for the detailed relation of the everyday activities of life, when removed from the exceptional situation. Upon this vantage ground the novel of everyday life was built. Near the mid-century comes another mighty influence from England, Richardson, who brings into the narration of middle-class, everyday existence, the intense analysis of human sensibilities. Richardson taught Germany to remodel her theories of heroism, her whole system of admirations, her conception of deserts. Rousseau’s voice from France spoke out a stirring appeal for the recognition of human feelings. Fielding, though attacking Richardson’s exaggeration of manner, and opposing him in his excess of emotionalism, yet added a forceful influence still in favor of the real, present and ordinary, as exemplified in the lives of vigorous human beings.

England’s leadership in narrative fiction, the superiority of the English novel, especially the humorous novel, which was tacitly acknowledged by these successive periods of imitation, when not actually declared by the acclaim of the critic and the preference of the reading public, has been attributed quite generally to the freedom of life in England and the comparative thraldom in Germany. Gervinus4 enlarges upon this point, the possibility in Britain of individual development in character and in action as compared with the constraint obtaining in Germany, where originality, banished from life, was permissible only in opinion. His ideas are substantially identical with those expressed many years before in an article in the Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften5 entitled “Ueber die Laune.” Lichtenberg in his brief essay, “Ueber den deutschen Roman,”6 is undoubtedly more than half serious in his arraignment of the German novel and his acknowledgment 5 of the English novelist’s advantage: the trend of this satirical skit coincides with the opinion above outlined, the points he makes being characteristic of his own humorous bent. That the English sleep in separate apartments, with big chimneys in their bedchambers, that they have comfortable post-chaises with seats facing one another, where all sorts of things may happen, and merry inns for the accommodation of the traveler,—these features of British life are represented as affording a grateful material to the novelist, compared with which German life offers no corresponding opportunity. Humor, as a characteristic element of the English novel, has been felt to be peculiarly dependent upon the fashion of life in Britain. Blankenburg, another eighteenth-century student of German literary conditions, in his treatise on the novel7, has similar theories concerning the sterility of German life as compared with English, especially in the production of humorous characters8. He asserts theoretically that humor (Laune) should never be employed in a novel of German life, because “Germany’s political institutions and laws, and our nice Frenchified customs would not permit this humor.” “On the one side,” he goes on to say, “is Gothic formality; on the other, frivolity.” Later in the volume (p. 191) he confines the use of humorous characters to subordinate rôles; otherwise, he says, the tendency to exaggeration would easily awaken displeasure and disgust. Yet in a footnote, prompted by some misgiving as to his theory, Blankenburg admits that much is possible to genius and cites English novels where a humorous character appears with success in the leading part; thus the theorist swerves about, and implies the lack of German genius in this regard. Eberhard in his “Handbuch der Aesthetik,”9 6 in a rather unsatisfactory and confused study of humor, expresses opinions agreeing with those cited above, and states that in England the feeling of independence sanctions the surrender of the individual to eccentric humor: hence England has produced more humorists than all the rest of the world combined. There is, however, at least one voice raised to explain in another way this deficiency of humor in German letters. A critic in the Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften10 attributes this lack not to want of original characters but to a lack of men like Cervantes, Ben Jonson, Butler, Addison, Fielding.

There is undoubtedly some truth in both points of view, but the defects of the eighteenth century German novel are due in larger measure to the peculiar mental organization of German authorship than to lack of interesting material in German life. The German novel was crushed under the weight of pedantry and pedagogy. Hillebrand strikes the root of the matter when he says,11 “We are all schoolmasters, even Hippel could not get away from the tutorial attitude.” The inborn necessity of German culture is to impart information, to seek recruits for the maintenance of some idea, to exploit some political, educational, or moral theory. This irresistible impulse has left its trail over German fiction. The men who wrote novels, as soon as they began to observe, began to theorize, and the results of this speculation were inevitably embodied in their works. They were men of mind rather than men of deeds, who minimized the importance of action and exaggerated the reflective, the abstract, the theoretical, the inner life of man. Hettner,12 with fine insight, points to the introduction to “Sebaldus Nothanker” as exhibiting the characteristic of this epoch of fiction. Speculation was the hero’s world, and in speculation lay for him the important things of life; he knew not the real world, hence speculation concerning it was his occupation. Consequential connection of events with character 7 makes the English novel the mirror of English life. Failure to achieve such a union makes the German novel a mirror of speculative opinions concerning life.

Hence we have Germany in the mid-eighteenth century prepared to accept and adopt any literary dogma, especially when stamped with an English popularity, which shall represent an interest rather in extraordinary characters and unusual opinions than in astounding adventure; which shall display a knowledge of human feeling and foster the exuberant expression of it.

Beside the devotees of any literary fashion are those who analyze philosophically the causes, and forecast the probable results of such a following. Thinking Germany became exercised over these facts of successive intellectual and literary dependence, as indicative of national limitations or foreboding disintegration. And thought was accordingly directed to the study of the influence of imitation upon the imitator, the effects of the imitative process upon national characteristics, as well as the causes of imitation, the fundamental occasion for national bondage in matters of life and letters. The part played by Dr. Edward Young’s famous epistle to Richardson, “Conjectures on Original Composition” (London, 1759), in this struggle for originality is considerable. The essay was reprinted, translated and made the theme of numerous treatises and discussions.13 One needs only to mention the concern of Herder, as displayed 8 in the “Fragmente über die neuere deutsche Litteratur,” and his statement14 with reference to the predicament as realized by thoughtful minds may serve as a summing up of that part of the situation. “Seit der Zeit ist keine Klage lauter and häufiger als über den Mangel von Originalen, von Genies, von Erfindern, Beschwerden über die Nachahmungs- und gedankenlose Schreibsucht der Deutschen.”

This thoughtful study of imitation itself was accompanied by more or less pointed opposition to the heedless importation of foreign views, and protests, sometimes vigorous and keen, sometimes flimsy and silly, were entered against the slavish imitation of things foreign. Endeavor was turned toward the establishment of independent ideals, and the fostering of a taste for the characteristically national in literature, as opposed to frank imitation and open borrowing.15

The story of Laurence Sterne in Germany is an individual example of sweeping popularity, servile admiration, extensive imitation and concomitant opposition.

1. This is well illustrated by the words prefaced to the revived and retitled Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen, which state the purpose of the periodical: “Besonders wird man für den Liebhaber der englischen Litteratur dahin sorgen, dass ihm kein einziger Artikel, der seiner Aufmerksamkeit würdig ist, entgehe, und die Preise der englischen Bücher wo möglich allzeit bemerken.” (Frankfurter gel. Anz., 1772, No. 1, January 3.)

2. Elze, “Die Englische Sprache und Litteratur in Deutschland,” gives what purports to be a complete list of these German-English periodicals in chronological order, but he begins his register with Eschenburg’s Brittisches Museum für die Deutschen, 1777–81, thus failing to mention the more significant, because earlier, journals: die Brittische Bibliothek, which appeared first in 1759 in Leipzig, edited by Karl Wilhelm Müller: and Bremisches Magazin zur Ausbreitung der Wissenschaften, Künste und Tugend, Von einigen Liebhabern derselben mehrentheils aus den Englischen Monatsschriften gesammelt und herausgegeben, Bremen and Leipzig, 1757–1766, when the Neues Bremisches Magazin begins.

3. Briefe deutscher Gelehrten aus Gleim’s Nachlass. Bd. II, p. 213.

4. “Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung,” V, pp. 184 ff. The comparative inferiority of the German novel is discussed by l’Abbé Dénina in “La Prusse Littéraire sous Frédéric II,” Berlin, 1791. Vol. I, pp. 112 ff. See also Julian Schmidt, “Bilder aus dem geistigen Leben unserer Zeit.” Leipzig, 1870. IV, pp. 270 ff.

5. III, pp. 1 ff.

6. Vermischte Schriften, II, p. 215.

7. “Versuch über den Roman.” Frankfort and Leipzig, 1774, p. 528. This study contains frequent allusions to Sterne and occasional quotation from his works, pp. 48, 191, 193, 200, 210, 273, 351, 365, 383, 426.

8. There is a similar tribute to English humor in “Ueber die moralische Schönheit und Philosophie des Lebens.” Altenburg, 1772, p. 199. Compare also Herder’s opinion in “Ideen zur Geschichte und Kritik der Poesie und bildenden Künste,” 1794–96, No. 49, in “Abhandlungen und Briefe über schöne Literatur und Kunst.” Tübingen, 1806, I, pp. 375–380; compare also passages in his “Fragmente” and “Wäldchen.”

9. Second edition, Halle, 1807, II, pp. 309 ff. The definition of humor and the perplexing question as to how far it is identical with “Laune,” have received considerable attention at the hands of aesthetic critics; compare, for example, Lessing in the “Hamburgische Dramaturgie.”

10. VII. p. 353. 1761.

11. “Deutsche Nationalliteratur,” II, p. 535. Hamburg, 1850.

12. “Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im achtzehnten Jahrhundert,” III, 1, pp. 363 ff.

13. See Introduction to “Briefe über Merkwürdigkeiten der Litteratur” in Seuffert’s Deutsche Litteraturdenkmale des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. The literature of this study of imitation in the Germany of the second half of the eighteenth century is considerable. The effort of much in the Litteratur-Briefe may be mentioned as contributing to this line of thought. The prize question of the Berlin Academy for 1788 brought forth a book entitled: “Wie kann die Nachahmung sowohl alter als neuer fremden Werke der schönen Wissenschaften des vaterländischen Geschmack entwickeln und vervollkommnen?” by Joh. Chr. Schwabe, professor in Stuttgart. (Berlin, pp. 120; reviewed in Allg. Litt. Zeitung. 1790. I, pp. 632–640.) Perhaps the first English essay upon German imitation of British masters is that in the Critical Journal, Vol. III, which was considered of sufficient moment for a German translation. See Morgenblatt, I, Nr. 162, July 8, 1807. A writer in the Auserlesene Bibliothek der neusten deutschen Litteratur (Lemgo, 1772–3), in an article entitled “Vom Zustande des Geschmacks beim deutschen Publikum,” traces the tendency to imitate to the German capacity for thinking rather than for feeling. (III, pp. 683 ff.) “Das deutsche Publikum,” he says, “scheint dazu bestimmt zu seyn, nachzuahmen, nachzuurtheilen, nachzuempfinden.” Justus Möser condemns his fellow countrymen soundly for their empty imitation. See fragment published in “Sämmtliche Werke,” edited by B. R. Abeken. Berlin, 1858. IV, pp. 104–5.

14. Herder’s sämmtliche Werke, edited by B. Suphan, Berlin, Weidman, 1877, I, 254. In the tenth fragment (second edition) he says the Germans have imitated other nations, “so dass Nachahmer beinahe zum Beiwort und zur zweiten Sylbe unseres Namens geworden.” See II, p. 51. Many years later Herder does not seem to view this period of imitation with such regret as the attitude of these earlier criticisms would forecast. In the “Ideen zur Geschichte und Kritik der Poesie und bildenden Künste,” 1794–96, he states with a burst of enthusiasm over the adaptability of the German language that he regards imitation as no just reproach, for thereby has Germany become immeasurably the richer.

15. The kind of praise bestowed on Hermes’s “Sophiens Reise” is a case in point; it was greeted as the first real German novel, the traces of English imitation being hardly noticeable. See Magazin der deutschen Critik, Vol. I, St. 2, pp. 245–251, 1772, signed “Kl.” Sattler’s “Friederike” was accorded a similar welcome of German patriotism; see Magazin der deutschen Critik, III, St. 1, p. 233. The “Litterarische Reise durch Deutschland” (Leipzig, 1786, p. 82) calls “Sophiens Reise” the first original German novel. See also the praise of Von Thümmel’s “Wilhelmine” and “Sophiens Reise” in Blankenburg’s “Versuch über den Roman,” pp. 237–9. Previously Germans had often hesitated to lay the scenes of their novels in Germany, and in many others English characters traveling or residing in Germany supply the un-German element.



It is no exaggeration to assert that the works of Yorick obtained and still retain a relatively more substantial position of serious consideration and recognized merit in France and Germany than in the countries where Sterne’s own tongue is spoken.1 His place among the English classics has, from the foreign point of view, never been a dubious question, a matter of capricious taste and unstable ideals. His peculiar message, whether interpreted and insisted upon with clearness of insight, or blindness of misunderstanding, played its not unimportant part in certain developments of continental literatures, and his station in English literature, as viewed from a continental standpoint, is naturally in part the reflex of the magnitude of his influence in the literature of France and Germany, rather than an estimate obtained exclusively from the actual worth of his own accomplishment, and the nature of his own service as a leader and innovator in English letters.

Sterne’s career in German literature, the esteem in which his own works have been held, and the connection between the sentimental, whimsical, contradictory English clergyman and his German imitators have been noted, generally speaking, by all the historians of literature; and several monographs and separate articles have been published on single phases of the theme.2 As yet, however, save for the investigations which treat only of two or three authors, there has been hardly more 10 than the general statement of the facts, often inadequate, incomplete, and sometimes inexact.

Sterne’s period of literary activity falls in the sixties, the very heyday of British supremacy in Germany. The fame of Richardson was hardly dimmed, though Musäus ridiculed his extravagances in “Grandison der Zweite” (1760) at the beginning of the decade. In 1762–66 Wieland’s Shakespeare translation appeared, and his original works of the period, “Agathon,” begun in 1761, and “Don Silvio von Rosalva,” published in 1764, betray the influence of both Richardson and Fielding. Ebert (1760—) revised and republished his translation of Young’s “Night Thoughts,” which had attained popularity in the previous decade. Goldsmith’s “Vicar of Wakefield” (1766) aroused admiration and enthusiasm. To this time too belongs Ossian’s mighty voice. As early as 1762 the first bardic translations appeared, and Denis’s work came out in 1768. Percy’s “Reliques,” published in England in 1765, were extensively read and cited, a stimulating force to parallel German activity. A selection from the “Reliques” appeared in Göttingen in 1767.

The outlook maintained in Germany for the worthy in British thought, the translatable, the reproducible, was so vigilant and, in general, so discerning that the introduction of Yorick into Germany was all but inevitable. The nature of the literary relations then obtaining and outlined above would forecast and almost necessitate such an adoption, and his very failure to secure recognition would demand an explanation.

Before the publication of Tristram Shandy it would be futile to seek for any knowledge of Sterne on German soil. He had published, as is well known, two sermons preached on occasions of note; and a satirical skit, with kindly purpose, entitled “The History of a Good Warm Watchcoat,” had been written, privately circulated, and then suppressed; yet he was an unknown and comparatively insignificant English clergyman residing in a provincial town, far, in those days very far, from those centers of life which sent their enlightenment over the channel to the continent. His fame was purely local. His sermons had, without doubt, rendered the vicar of 11 Sutton a rather conspicuous ecclesiastic throughout that region; his eccentricities were presumably the talk of neighboring parishes; the cathedral town itself probably tittered at his drolleries, and chattered over his sentiments; his social graces undoubtedly found recognition among county families and in provincial society, and his reputation as a wit had probably spread in a vague, uncertain, transitory fashion beyond the boundaries of the county. Yet the facts of local notoriety and personal vogue are without real significance save in the light of later developments; and we may well date his career in the world of books from the year 1760, when the London world began to smile over the first volumes of Tristram Shandy. From internal evidence in these early volumes it is possible to note with some assurance the progress of their composition and the approximate time of their completion. In his wayward, fitful way, and possibly for his own amusement more than with dreams of fame and fortune,3 Sterne probably began the composition of Shandy in January, 1759, and the completion of the first installment is assigned to the summer or early autumn of that year. At the end of the year4 the first edition of the first two volumes was issued in York, bearing the imprint of John Hinxham. Dodsley and Cooper undertook the sale of the volumes in London, though the former had declined to be responsible for the publication. They were ready for delivery in the capital on the first day of the new year 1760. Sterne’s fame was immediate; his personal triumph was complete and ranks with the great successes in the history of our literature. On his arrival in London in March, the world aristocratic, ecclesiastic, and literary was eager to receive the new favorite, and his career of bewildering social 12 enjoyment, vigorous feasting and noteworthy privilege began. “No one”, says Forster, “was so talked of in London this year and no one so admired as the tall, thin, hectic-looking Yorkshire parson.”5 From this time on until his death Sterne was a most conspicuous personage in English society, a striking, envied figure in English letters.

And yet it was some time before Germany learned of the new prodigy: for reasons which will be treated later, the growth of the Sterne cult in Germany was delayed, so that Yorick was in the plenitude of his German fame when England had begun to look askance at him with critical, fault-finding eye, or to accord him the more damning condemnation of forgetfulness.

The first mention of Sterne’s name in Germany may well be the brief word in the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent6 for January 19, 1762, in a letter from the regular London correspondent, dated January 8. In a tone of particularity which would mark the introduction of a new and strange personality into his communications, the correspondent states the fact of Sterne’s departure for Paris in pursuit of lost health. This journal may further be taken as an example of those which devoted a remarkable amount of space to British affairs, since it was published in the North German seaport town, where the mercantile connection with Britain readily fostered the exchange of other than purely commercial commodities. And yet in Hamburg Sterne waited full two years for a scanty recognition even of his English fame.

In the fourth year after the English publication of Shandy comes the first attempt to transplant Sterne’s gallery of originals to German shores. This effort, of rather dubious success, is the Zückert translation of Tristram Shandy, a rendering weak and inaccurate, but nevertheless an important first step in the German Shandy cult. Johann Friedrich Zückert,7 the translator, was born December 19, 1739, and died in Berlin 13 May 1, 1778. He studied medicine at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder, became a physician in Berlin, but, because of bodily disabilities, devoted himself rather to study and society than to the practice of his profession. His publications are fairly numerous and deal principally with medical topics, especially with the question of foods. In the year after the appearance of his Shandy translation, Zückert published an essay which indicates the direction of his tastes and gives a clue to his interest in Tristram. It was entitled “Medizinische und Moralische Abhandlung von den Leidenschaften,”8 and discloses a tendency on the part of the author to an analysis of the passions and moods of man, an interest in the manner of their generation, and the method of their working. This treatise was quite probably written, or conceived, while its author was busied with Shandy, and his division of the temperaments (p. 53) into the sanguine or warm moist, the choleric or warm dry, the phlegmatic or cold moist, and the melancholy or cold dry, is not unlike some of Walter Shandy’s half-serious, half-jesting scientific theories, though, to be sure, it falls in with much of the inadequate and ill-applied terminology of the time.

Zückert’s translation of the first six parts9 of Tristram Shandy appeared in 1763, and bore the imprint of the publisher Lange, Berlin und Stralsund. The title read “Das Leben und die Meynungen des Herrn Tristram Shandy,” the first of the long series of “Leben und Meynungen” which flooded the literature of the succeeding decades, this becoming a conventional title for a novel. It is noteworthy that until the publication of parts VII and VIII in 1765, there is no mention of the real author’s name. To these later volumes the translator prefaces a statement which contains some significant intelligence concerning his aim and his interpretation of Sterne’s underlying purpose. He says he would never have ventured on the translation of so ticklish a book if he had foreseen the difficulties; that he believed such a translation would be a real service to the German public, and that he never fancied the critics could hold him to the very letter, as in the 14 rendering of a classic author. He confesses to some errors and promises corrections in a possible new edition. He begs the public to judge the translation in accord with its purpose “to delight and enliven the public and to acquaint the Germans with a really wonderful genius.” To substantiate his statement relative to the obstacles in his way, he outlines in a few words Sterne’s peculiar, perplexing style, as regards both use of language and the arrangement of material. He conceives Sterne’s purpose as a desire to expose to ridicule the follies of his countrymen and to incorporate serious truths into the heart of his jesting.

Since the bibliographical facts regarding the subsequent career of this Zückert translation have been variously mangled and misstated, it may be well, though it depart somewhat from the regular chronological order of the narrative, to place this information here in connection with the statement of its first appearance. The translation, as published in 1763, contained only the first six parts of Sterne’s work. In 1765 the seventh and eighth parts were added, and in 1767 a ninth appeared, but the latter was a translation of a spurious English original.10 In 1769, the shrewd publisher began to issue a new and slightly altered edition of the translation, which bore, however, on the title page “nach einer neuen Uebersetzung” and the imprint, Berlin und Stralsund bey Gottlieb August Langen, Parts I and II being dated 1769; Parts III and IV, 1770; Parts V, VI, VII and VIII, 1771; Part IX, 1772. Volumes III-VIII omit Stralsund as a joint place of publication. In 1773, when it became noised abroad that Bode, the successful and honored translator of the Sentimental Journey, was at work upon a German rendering of Shandy, Lange once more forced his wares upon the market, this time publishing the Zückert translation with the use of Wieland’s then influential name on the title page, “Auf Anrathen des Hrn. Hofraths Wielands verfasst.” 15 Wieland was indignant at this misuse of his name and repudiated all connection with this “new translation.” This edition was probably published late in 1773, as Wieland in his review in the Merkur gives it that date, but the volumes themselves bear the date of 1774.11 We learn from the Merkur (VI. 363) that Zückert was not responsible for the use of Wieland’s name.

These are the facts of the case. Meusel in his account of Zückert gives the date of the first edition as 1774, and the second edition is registered but the date is left blank. Jördens, probably depending on the information given by the review in the Merkur, to which reference is made, assigns 1773 as the date. This edition, as is shown above, is really the third.

This Zückert translation is first reviewed by the above mentioned Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent in the issue for January 4, 1764. The review, however, was not calculated to lure the German reader of the periodical to a perusal either of the original, or of the rendering in question: it is concerned almost exclusively with a summary of the glaring inaccuracies in the first nineteen pages of the work and with correct translations of the same; and it is in no sense of the word an appreciation of the book. The critic had read Shandy in the original, and had believed that no German hack translator12 would venture a version in the language of the fatherland. It is a review which shows only the learning of the reviewer, displays the weakness of the translator, but gives no idea of the nature of the book itself, not even a glimpse of the critic’s own estimate of the book, save the implication that he himself had understood the original, though many Englishmen even were staggered by its obtuseness and failed to comprehend the subtlety of its allusion. It is criticism in the narrowest, most arrogant sense of the word, destructive instead of informing, blinding instead of illuminating. It is noteworthy that Sterne’s name is nowhere mentioned in the review, nor is there a hint of Tristram’s English popularity. The author of this 16 unsigned criticism is not to be located with certainty, yet it may well have been Bode, the later apostle of Sterne-worship in Germany. Bode was a resident of Hamburg at this time, was exceptionally proficient in English and, according to Jördens13 and Schröder,14 he was in 1762–3 the editor of the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent. The precise date when Bode severed his connection with the paper is indeterminate, yet this, the second number of the new year 1764, may have come under his supervision even if his official connection ended exactly with the close of the old year. To be sure, when Bode ten years later published his own version of Shandy, he translated, with the exception of two rather insignificant cases, none of the passages verbally the same as the reviewer in this journal, but it would be unreasonable to attach any great weight to this fact. Eight or nine years later, when undertaking the monumental task of rendering the whole of Shandy into German, it is not likely that Bode would recall the old translations he had made in this review or concern himself about them. A brief comparison of the two sets of translations suggests that the critic was striving merely for accuracy in correcting the errors of Zückert, and that Bode in his formal translation shows a riper and more certain feeling for the choice of words; the effect of purposeful reflection is unmistakable. Of course this in no way proves Bode to have been the reviewer, but the indications at least allow the probability.

As was promised in the preface to Parts VII and VIII, to which reference has already been made, the new edition was regarded as an opportunity for correction of errors, but this bettering is accomplished with such manifest carelessness and ignorance as to suggest a further possibility, that the publisher, Lange, eager to avail himself of the enthusiasm for Sterne, which burst out on the publication of the Sentimental Journey, thrust this old translation on the public without providing for thorough revision, or complete correction of flagrant errors. The following quotations will suffice to demonstrate the inadequacy of the revision:


I, p. 6: Well, you may take my word that nine parts in ten of a man’s sense or his nonsense,

P. 5: Gut, ich gebe euch mein Wort, dass neun unter zehnmal eines jeden Witz oder Dummheit.

(The second edition replaces “Witz” by “Verstand,” which does not alter the essential error of the rendering.)

P. 7: The minutest philosophers.

“Die strengsten Philosophen” remains unchanged in second edition.

P. 7: Being guarded and circumscribed with rights.

P. 3: “Ein Wesen das ebenfalls seine Vorzüge hat” is unaltered.

P. 8: A most unaccountable obliquity in the manner of setting up my top.

Meine seltsame Ungeschicklichkeit meinen Kopf zu recht zu machen.

This last astounding translation is retained in the second edition in spite of the reviewers’ ridicule, but the most nonsensical of all the renderings, whereby “the momentum of the coach horse was so great” becomes “der Augenblick des Kutschpferdes war so gross” is fortunately corrected.15

These examples of slipshod alteration or careless retention contrast quite unfavorably with the attitude of the translator in the preface to parts VII and VIII, in which he confesses to the creeping in of errors in consequence of the perplexities of the rendering, and begs for “reminders and explanations” of this and that passage, thereby displaying an eagerness to accept hints for emendation. This is especially remarkable when it is noted that he has in the second edition not even availed himself of the corrections given in the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent, and has allowed some of the most extraordinary blunders to stand. These facts certainly favor the theory that Zückert himself had little or nothing to do with the second edition and its imperfect revision. This supposition finds further evidence in the fact that the ninth part of Shandy, as issued by Lange in the second (1772) and third (1774) editions, was still a translation of the spurious English volume, although the fraud was well known and the genuine 18 volume was read and appreciated. Of this genuine last part Dr. Zückert never made a translation. It may be remarked in passing that a translation bristling with such errors, blunders which at times degrade the text into utter nonsense, could hardly be an efficient one in spreading appreciation of Shandy.

A little more than a year after the review in the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent, which has been cited, the Jenaische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen in the number dated March 1, 1765, treats Sterne’s masterpiece in its German disguise. This is the first mention of Sterne’s book in the distinctively literary journals. The tone of this review is further that of an introducer of the new, and the critique is manifestly inserted in the paper as an account of a new book. The reviewer is evidently unaware of the author’s name, since the words which accompany the title, from the English, are nowhere elucidated, and no hint of authorship, or popularity in England, or possible far-reaching appeal in Germany is traceable. The idea of the hobby-horse is new to the reviewer and his explanation of it implies that he presumed Sterne’s use of the term would be equally novel to the readers of the periodical. His compliment to the translation indicates further that he was unacquainted with the review in the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent.

A little more than a year later, June 13, 1766, this same journal, under the caption “London,” reviews the Becket and de Hondt four-volume edition of the “Sermons of Mr. Yorick.” The critic thinks a warning necessary: “One should not be deceived by the title: the author’s name is not Yorick,” and then he adds the information of the real authorship. This is a valid indication that, in the opinion of the reviewer, the name Yorick would not be sufficiently linked in the reader’s mind with the personality of Sterne and the fame of his first great book, to preclude the possibility, or rather probability, of error. This state of affairs is hardly reconcilable with any widespread knowledge of the first volumes of Shandy. The criticism of the sermons which follows implies, on the reviewer’s part, an acquaintance with Sterne, with Tristram, a “whimsical and roguish novel which would in our land 19 be but little credit to a clergyman,” and with the hobby-horse idea. The spirit of the review is, however, quite possibly prompted, and this added information supplied, by the London correspondent, and retold only with a savor of familiarity by this critic; for at the end of this communication this London correspondent is credited with the suggestion that quite probably the sermons were never actually preached.

The first mention of Sterne in the Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen is in the number for November 15, 1764. In the report from London is a review16 of the fifth edition of Yorick’s Sermons, published by Dodsley in two volumes, 1764. To judge by the tenor of his brief appreciation, the reviewer does not anticipate any knowledge of Sterne whatsoever or of Shandy among the readers of the periodical. He states that the sermons had aroused much interest in England because of their authorship “by Lorenz Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy, a book in which a remarkable humor is exhibited.” He mentions also that the sermon on the conscience had already been published in the novel, but is ignorant of its former and first appearance. Three years later, July 20, 1767,17 the same periodical devotes a long critical review to the four-volume London edition of the sermons. The publisher’s name is not given, but it is the issue of Becket and de Hondt. The restating of elementary information concerning authorship is indicative of the tardy progress made by Yorick in these years in gaining recognition in Germany. The reviewer thinks it even necessary to add that Yorick is the name of the clergyman who plays a waggish (possierliche) rôle in Shandy, and that Sterne cherished the opinion that this designation on the title-page would be better known than his own name.

In the meantime Swiss piety and Swiss devotion to things English had been instrumental in bringing out a translation of Sterne’s sermons,18 the first volume of which appeared in 1766. 20 The Swiss translation was occasioned by its author’s expectation of interest in the sermons as sermons; this is in striking contrast to the motives which led to their original publication in England. The brief preface of the translator gives no information of Sterne, or of Shandy; the translator states his reasons for the rendering, his own interest in the discourses, his belief that such sermons would not be superfluous in Germany, and his opinion that they were written for an increasing class of readers, “who, though possessed of taste and culture and laying claim to probity, yet for various reasons stand apart from moral instruction and religious observance.” He also changed the original order of the sermons. The first part of this Swiss translation is reviewed in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek in the first number of 1768, and hence before the Sentimental Journey had seen the light even in London. The review is characterized by unstinted praise: Sterne is congratulated upon his deviation from the conventional in homiletical discourse, is commended as an excellent painter of moral character and situations, though he abstains from the use of the common engines of eloquence. His narrative powers are also noted with approval and his ability to retain the attention of his hearers through clever choice of emphasized detail is mentioned with appreciation. Yet in all this no reference is made to Sterne’s position in English letters, a fact which could hardly have failed of comment, if the reviewer had been aware of it, especially in view of the relation of Sterne’s popularity to the very existence of this published volume of sermons, or if it had been expected that the fact of authorship would awaken interest in any considerable number of readers. The tone of the review is further hardly reconcilable with a knowledge of Sterne’s idiosyncrasies as displayed in Shandy. A brief consideration of the principles of book-reviewing would establish the fact indisputably that the mentioning of a former book, some hint of familiarity with the author by open or covert allusion, is an integral and inevitable part of the review of a later book. This review is the only mention of Sterne in this 21 magazine19 before the publication of the Sentimental Journey. A comparison of this recension, narrow in outlook, bound, as it is, to the very book under consideration, with those of the second and third volumes of the sermons in the same magazine during the year 1770,20 is an illuminating illustration of the sweeping change brought in by the Journey. In the latter critique we find appreciation of Yorick’s characteristics, enthusiastic acceptation of his sentiment, fond and familiar allusions to both Shandy and the Sentimental Journey. In the brief space of two years Sterne’s sentimentalism had come into its own.

The Bremisches Magazin,21 which was employed largely in publishing translations from English periodicals, and contained in each number lists, generally much belated, of new English books, noted in the third number for 1762, among the new books from April to December, 1760, Mr. Yorick’s Sermons, published by Mr. Sterne, and then, as customary in these catalogues, translated the title into “Herrn Yorick’s Predigten ans Licht gestellt von Hn. Sterne.” Four years later, in the first volume of the Neues Bremisches Magazin,22 announcement is made of the third and fourth volumes of Yorick’s Sermons. During this period sufficient intelligence concerning Sterne is current to warrant the additional statement that “This Mr. Sterne, the author of the strange book, Tristram Shandy, is the author himself.” The notice closes with the naïve but astounding information, “He took the name Yorick because he is a preacher in York; furthermore, these sermons are much praised.” No further proof is needed that this reviewer was guiltless of any knowledge of Shandy beyond the title. The ninth volume of Shandy is announced in the same number among the new English books.

In 1767, the year before the publication of the Sentimental Journey, we find three notices of Tristram Shandy. In the Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften23 is a very 22 brief but, in the main, commendatory review of the Zückert translation, coupled with the statement that the last parts are not by Sterne, but with the claim that the humor of the original is fairly well maintained. The review is signed “Dtsh.” Another Halle periodical, the Hallische Neue Gelehrte Zeitungen, in the issue for August 10, 176724 reviews the same volumes with a much more decided acknowledgment of merit. It is claimed that the difference is not noticeable, and that the ninth part is almost more droll than all the others, an opinion which is noteworthy testimony to its originator’s utter lack of comprehension of the whole work and of the inanity of this spurious last volume. The statement by both of these papers that the last three volumes,25 parts VII, VIII and IX, of the Zückert translation, rest on spurious English originals, is, of course, false as far as VII and VIII are concerned, and is true only of IX.

In the Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften, the last number for 176626 contains the first mention of Sterne’s name in this representative literary periodical. It is an article entitled “Ueber die Laune,”27 which is concerned with the phenomena of hypochrondia and melancholia, considered as illnesses, and their possible cure. The author claims to have found a remedy in the books which do not depress the spirits with exhibition of human woes, but which make merry over life’s follies. In this he claims merely to be following the advice of St. Evremond to the Count of Olonne. His method he further explains by tracing humor to its beginnings in Aristophanes and by following its development through Latin, new Latin (Erasmus, Thomas Morus, etc.), French and English writers. Among the latter Sterne is named. Unfortunately for the present purpose, the author is led by caution and fear of giving the offense of omission to refrain from naming the German writers who might be classed with the cited representatives of humor. In closing, he recommends heartily to 23 those teased with melancholy a “portion of leaves of Lucian, some half-ounces of ‘Don Quixote’ or some drachms of ‘Tom Jones’ or ‘Tristram Shandy.’” Under the heading, “New English Books,” in the third number of the same periodical for 1767, is a brief but significant notice of the ninth volume of Tristram Shandy.28 “The ninth part of the well-known ‘Life of Tristram Shandy’ has been published; we would not mention it, if we did not desire on this occasion to note at least once in our magazine a book which is incontestably the strangest production of wit and humor which has ever been brought forth. . . . The author of this original book is a clergyman by the name of Sterne, who, under his Harlequin’s name, Yorick, has given to the world the most excellent sermons.” The review contains also a brief word of comparison with Rabelais and a quotation from an English critic expressing regret at Yorick’s embroidering “the choicest flowers of genius on a paultry groundwork of buffoonry.”29 This late mention of Sterne’s great novel, and the manner in which it is made are not without their suggestions as to the attitude even of the German literary world toward Yorick. The notice is written in a tone of forced condescension. The writer is evidently compelled, as representative of British literary interests, to bear witness to the Shandy craze, but the attitude of the review is plainly indicative of its author’s disbelief in any occasion for especial concern about Yorick in Germany. Sterne himself is mentioned as a fitful whim of British taste, and a German devotion to him is beyond the flight of fancy.30

Individual authors, aware of international literary conditions, the inner circle of German culture, became acquainted 24 with Tristram Shandy during this period before the publication of the Sentimental Journey and learned to esteem the eccentric parson. Bode’s possible acquaintance with the English original previous to 1764 has been already noted. Lessing’s admiration for Sterne naturally is associated with his two statements of remarkable devotion to Yorick, both of which, however, date from a period when he had already become acquainted with the Journey. At precisely what time Lessing first read Tristram Shandy it is impossible to determine with accuracy. Moses Mendelssohn writes to him in the summer of 1763:31 “Tristram Shandy is a work of masterly originality. At present, to be sure, I have read only the first two volumes. In the beginning the book vexed me exceedingly. I rambled on from digression to digression without grasping the real humor of the author. I regarded him as a man like our Liscow, whom, as you know, I don’t particularly fancy; and yet the book pleases Lessing!” This is sufficient proof that Mendelssohn first read Shandy early in 1763, but, though not improbable, it is yet rather hazardous to conclude that Lessing also had read the book shortly before, and had just recommended it to his friend. The literary friendship existing between them, and the general nature of their literary relations and communications, would rather favor such a hypothesis. The passage is, however, a significant confession of partial failure on the part of the clever and erudite Mendelssohn to appreciate Sterne’s humor. It has been generally accepted that Lessing’s dramatic fragment, “Die Witzlinge,” included two characters modeled confessedly after Yorick’s familiar personages, Trim and Eugenius. Boxberger and others have stamped such a theory with their authority.32 If this were true, “Die Witzlinge” would undoubtedly be the first example 25 of Sterne’s influence working directly upon the literary activity of a German author. The fragment has, however, nothing to do with Tristram Shandy, and a curious error has here crept in through the remarkable juxtaposition of names later associated with Sterne. The plan is really derived directly from Shadwell’s “Bury Fair” with its “Mr. Trim” fancifully styled “Eugenius.” Those who tried to establish the connection could hardly have been familiar with Tristram Shandy, for Lessing’s Trim as outlined in the sketch has nothing in common with the Corporal.

Erich Schmidt, building on a suggestion of Lichtenstein, found a “Dosis Yorikscher Empfindsamkeit”33 in Tellheim, and connected the episode of the Chevalier de St. Louis with the passage in “Minna von Barnhelm” (II, 2) in which Minna contends with the innkeeper that the king cannot know all deserving men nor reward them. Such an identity of sentiment must be a pure coincidence for “Minna von Barnhelm” was published at Easter, 1767, nearly a year before the Sentimental Journey appeared.

A connection between Corporal Trim and Just has been suggested,34 but no one has by investigation established such a kinship. Both servants are patterns of old-fashioned fidelity, types of unquestioning service on the part of the inferior, a relation which existed between Orlando and Adam in “As You Like It,” and which the former describes:

“O good old man, how well in thee appears

The constant service of the antique world,

When service sweat for duty, not for meed;

Thou art not for the fashion of these times.”

Tellheim recognizes the value of Just’s service, and honors his subordinate for his unusual faithfulness; yet there exists here no such cordial comradeship as marked the relation between Sterne’s originals. But one may discern the occasion of this in the character of Tellheim, who has no resemblance to Uncle Toby, rather than in any dissimilarity between the characters of the servants. The use of the relation between master and 26 man as a subject for literary treatment was probably first brought into fashion by Don Quixote, and it is well-nigh certain that Sterne took his cue from Cervantes.

According to Erich Schmidt, the episode of Just’s dog, as the servant relates it in the 8th scene of the 1st act, could have adorned the Sentimental Journey, but the similarity of motif here in the treatment of animal fidelity is pure coincidence. Certainly the method of using the episode is not reminiscent of any similar scene in Sterne. Just’s dog is not introduced for its own sake, nor like the ass at Nampont to afford opportunity for exciting humanitarian impulses, and for throwing human character into relief by confronting it with sentimental possibilities, but for the sake of a forceful, telling and immediate comparison. Lessing was too original a mind, and at the time when “Minna” was written, too complete and mature an artist to follow another slavishly or obviously, except avowedly under certain conditions and with particular purpose. He himself is said to have remarked, “That must be a pitiful author who does not borrow something once in a while,”35 and it does not seem improbable that the figure of Trim was hovering in his memory while he was creating his Just. Especially does this seem plausible when we remember that Lessing wrote his drama during the years when Shandy was appearing, when he must have been occupied with it, and at the first flush of his admiration.

This supposition, however undemonstrable, is given some support by our knowledge of a minor work of Lessing, which has been lost. On December 28, 1769, Lessing writes to Ebert from Hamburg: “Alberti is well; and what pleases me about him, as much as his health, is that the news of his reconciliation with Goeze was a false report. So Yorick will probably preach and send his sermon soon.”36 And Ebert replies in a letter dated at Braunschweig, January 7, 1770, expressing a desire that Lessing should fulfil his promise, and cause Yorick to preach not once but many times.37 The circumstance herein 27 involved was first explained by Friedrich Nicolai in an article in the Berlinische Monatsschrift, 1791.38 As a trick upon his friend Alberti, who was then in controversy with Goeze, Lessing wrote a sermon in Yorick’s manner; the title and part of the introduction to it were privately printed by Bode and passed about among the circle of friends, as if the whole were in press. We are entirely dependent on Nicolai’s memory for our information relative to this sole endeavor on Lessing’s part to adopt completely the manner of Sterne. Nicolai asserts that this effort was a complete success in the realization of Yorick’s simplicity, his good-natured but acute philosophy, his kindly sympathy and tolerance, even his merry whimsicality.

This introduction, which Nicolai claims to have recalled essentially as Lessing wrote it, relates the occasion of Yorick’s writing the sermon. Uncle Toby and Trim meet a cripple in a ragged French uniform; Capt. Shandy gives the unfortunate man several shillings, and Trim draws out a penny and in giving it says, “French Dog!” The narrative continues:

“The Captain39 was silent for some seconds and then said, turning to Trim, ‘It is a man, Trim, and not a dog!’ The French veteran had hobbled after them: at the Captain’s words Trim gave him another penny, saying again ‘French Dog!’ ‘And, Trim, the man is a soldier.’ Trim stared him in the face, gave him a penny again and said, ‘French Dog!’ ‘And, Trim, he is a brave soldier; you see he has fought for his fatherland and has been sorely wounded.’ Trim pressed his hand, while he gave him another penny, and said ‘French Dog!’ ‘And, Trim, this soldier is a good but unfortunate husband, and has a wife and four little children.’ Trim, with a tear in his eye, gave all he had left and said, rather softly, ‘French Dog!’”

This scene recalls vividly the encounter between Just and the landlord in the first act of “Minna,” the passage in which Just continues to assert that the landlord is a “Grobian.” There are the same tactics, the same persistence, the same contrasts. The passage quoted was, of course, written after 28 “Minna,” but from it we gather evidence that Corporal Trim and his own Just were similar creations, that to him Corporal Trim, when he had occasion to picture him, must needs hark back to the figure of Just, a character which may well originally have been suggested by Capt. Shandy’s faithful servant.

Among German literati, Herder is another representative of acquaintance with Sterne and appreciation of his masterpiece. Haym40 implies that Sterne and Swift are mentioned more often than any other foreign authors in Herder’s writings of the Riga period (November, 1764, to May, 1769). This would, of course, include the first fervor of enthusiasm concerning the Sentimental Journey, and would be a statement decidedly doubtful, if applied exclusively to the previous years. In a note-book, possibly reaching back before his arrival in Riga to his student days in Königsberg, Herder made quotations from Shandy and Don Quixote, possibly preparatory notes for his study of the ridiculous in the Fourth Wäldchen.41 In May, 1766, Herder went to Mitau to visit Hamann, and he designates the account of the events since leaving there as “ein Capitel meines Shandyschen Romans”42 and sends it as such to “my uncle, Tobias Shandy.” Later a letter, written 27–16, August, 1766, is begun with the heading, “Herder to Hamann and no more Yorick to Tobias Shandy,” in which he says: “I am now in a condition where I can play the part of Yorick as little as Panza that of Governor.”43 The same letter contains another reference and the following familiar allusion to Sterne: “Grüsen Sie Trim, wenn ich gegen keinen den beleidigenden Karakter Yoriks oder leider! das Schicksal wider Willen zu beleidigen, habe, so ist’s doch gegen ihn und Hartknoch.” These last quotations are significant as giving proof that Shandy had so far forced its claims upon a little set of book-lovers in the remote east, Herder, Hamann and a few others, that they gave one another in play names from the English novel. A letter from Hamann to Herder, dated Königsberg, 29 June 10, 1767, indicates that the former shared also the devotion to Sterne.44

In the first collection of “Fragmente über die neuere deutsche Litteratur,” 1767, the sixth section treats of the “Idiotismen” of a language. British “Laune” is cited as such an untranslatable “Idiotism” and the lack of German humorists is noted, and Swift is noted particularly as an English example. In the second and revised edition Herder adds material containing allusion to Hudibras and Tristram.45 The first and second “Kritische Wäldchen” contain several references to Sterne and Shandy.46 Herder, curiously enough, did not read the Sentimental Journey until the autumn of 1768, as is disclosed in a letter to Hamann written in November,47 which also shows his appreciation of Sterne. “An Sterne’s Laune,” he says, “kann ich mich nicht satt lesen. Eben den Augenblick, da ich an ihn denke, bekomme ich seine Sentimental Journey zum Durchlesen, und wenn nicht meine Englische Sprachwissenschaft scheitert, wie angenehm werde ich mit ihm reisen. Ich bin an seine Sentiments zum Theil schon so gewöhnt, sie bis in das weiche innere Mark seiner Menschheit in ihren zarten Fäden zu verfolgen: dass ich glaube seinen Tristram etwas mehr zu verstehn als the common people. Nur um so mehr ärgern mich auch seine verfluchten Säuereien und Zweideutigkeiten, die das Buch wenigerer Empfehlung fähig machen als es verdient.” We learn from the same letter that Herder possessed the sermons of Yorick in the Zürich translation. Herder’s own homiletical style during this period, as evinced by the sermons preserved to us, betrays no trace of Sterne’s influence.

Riedel, in his “Theorie der schönen Künste und Wissenschaften,”48 shows appreciation of Shandy complete and 30 discriminating, previous to the publication of the Sentimental Journey. This book is a sort of compendium, a series of rather disconnected chapters, woven together out of quotations from aesthetic critics, examples and comment. In the chapter on Similarity and Contrast he contends that a satirist only may transgress the rule he has just enunciated: “When a perfect similarity fails of its effect, a too far-fetched, a too ingenious one, is even less effective,” and in this connection he quotes from Tristram Shandy a passage describing the accident to Dr. Slop and Obadiah.49 Riedel translates the passage himself. The chapter “Ueber die Laune”50 contains two more references to Shandy. In a volume dated 1768 and entitled “Ueber das Publikum: Briefe an einige Glieder desselben,” written evidently without knowledge of the Journey, Riedel indicates the position which Shandy had in these years won for itself among a select class. Riedel calls it a contribution to the “Register” of the human heart and states that he knows people who claim to have learned more psychology from this novel than from many thick volumes in which the authors had first killed sentiment in order then to dissect it at leisure.51

Early in 1763, one finds an appreciative knowledge of Shandy as a possession of a group of Swiss literati, but probably confined to a coterie of intellectual aristocrats and novelty-seekers. Julie von Bondeli52 writes to Usteri from Koenitz on March 10, 1763, that Kirchberger53 will be able to get him the opportunity to read Tristram Shandy as a whole, that she herself has read two volumes with surprise, emotion and almost constant bursts of laughter; she goes on to say: “Il voudrait la peine d’apprendre l’anglais ne fut-ce que pour lire cet impayable livre, dont la vérité et le génie se fait sentir à chaque 31 ligne au travers de la plus originelle plaisanterie.” Zimmermann was a resident of Brugg, 1754–1768, and was an intimate friend of Fräulein von Bondeli. It may be that this later enthusiastic admirer of Sterne became acquainted with Shandy at this time through Fräulein von Bondeli, but their correspondence, covering the years 1761–1775, does not disclose it.

Dr. Carl Behmer, who has devoted an entire monograph to the study of Wieland’s connection with Sterne, is of the opinion, and his proofs seem conclusive, that Wieland did not know Shandy before the autumn of 1767,54 that is, only a few months before the publication of the Journey. But his enthusiasm was immediate. The first evidence of acquaintance with Sterne, a letter to Zimmermann (November 13, 1767),55 is full of extravagant terms of admiration and devotion. One is naturally reminded of his similar extravagant expressions with reference to the undying worth of Richardson’s novels. Sterne’s life philosophy fitted in with Wieland’s second literary period, the frivolous, sensuous, epicurean, even as the moral meanderings of Richardson agreed with his former serious, religious attitude. Probably soon after or while reading Shandy, Wieland conceived the idea of translating it. The letter which contains this very first mention of Sterne also records Wieland’s regret that the Germans can read this incomparable original only in so wretched a translation, which implies a contemporary acquaintance with Dr. Zückert’s rendering. This regret may well have been the foundation of his own purpose of translating the book; and knowledge of this seems to have been pretty general among German men of letters at the time. Though the account of this purpose would bring us into a time when the Sentimental Journey was in every hand, it may be as well to complete what we have to say of it here.

His reason for abandoning the idea, and the amount of work done, the length of time he spent upon the project, cannot be determined from his correspondence and must, as Behmer implies, be left in doubt. But several facts, which Behmer does 32 not note, remarks of his own and of his contemporaries, point to more than an undefined general purpose on his part; it is not improbable that considerable work was done. Wieland says incidentally in his Teutscher Merkur,56 in a review of the new edition of Zückert’s translation: “Vor drei Jahren, da er (Lange) mich bat, ihm die Uebersetzung des Tristram mit der ich damals umgieng, in Verlag zu geben.” Herder asks Nicolai in a letter dated Paris, November 30, 1769, “What is Wieland doing, is he far along with his Shandy?” And in August, 1769, in a letter to Hartknoch, he mentions Wieland’s Tristram among German books which he longs to read.57

The Jenaische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen58 for December 18, 1769, in mentioning this new edition of Zückert’s translation, states that Wieland has now given up his intention, but adds: “Perhaps he will, however, write essays which may fill the place of a philosophical commentary upon the whole book.” That Wieland had any such secondary purpose is not elsewhere stated, but it does not seem as if the journal would have published such a rumor without some foundation in fact. It may be possibly a resurrection of his former idea of a defense of Tristram as a part of the “Litteraturbriefe” scheme which Riedel had proposed.59 This general project having failed, Wieland may have cherished the purpose of defending Tristram independently of the plan. Or this may be a reviewer’s vague memory of a former rumor of plan.

It is worth noting incidentally that Gellert does not seem to have known Sterne at all. His letters, for example, to Demoiselle Lucius, which begin October 22, 1760, and continue to December 4, 1769, contain frequent references to other English celebrities, but none to Sterne.

The first notice of Sterne’s death is probably that in the Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten of Hamburg in the issue of April 6, 1768, not three weeks after the event itself. The brief announcement is a comparison with Cervantes. The 33 Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen chronicles the death of Yorick, August 29, 1768.60

Though published in England from 1759–67, Tristram Shandy seems not to have been reprinted in Germany till the 1772 edition of Richter in Altenburg, a year later indeed than Richter’s reprint of the Sentimental Journey. The colorless and inaccurate Zückert translation, as has already been suggested, achieved no real popular success and won no learned recognition. The reviews were largely silent or indifferent to it, and, apart from the comparatively few notices already cited, it was not mentioned by any important literary periodical until after its republication by Lange, when the Sentimental Journey had set all tongues awag with reference to the late lamented Yorick. None of the journals indicate any appreciation of Sterne’s especial claim to recognition, nor see in the fatherland any peculiar receptiveness to his appeal. In short, the foregoing accumulation of particulars resolves itself into the general statement, easily derived from the facts stated: Sterne’s position in the German world of letters is due primarily to the Sentimental Journey. Without its added impulse Shandy would have hardly stirred the surface of German life and thought. The enthusiasm even of a few scholars whose learning and appreciation of literature is international, the occasional message of uncertain understanding, of doubtful approbation, or of rumored popularity in another land, are not sufficient to secure a general interest and attentiveness, much less a literary following. The striking contrast between the essential characteristics of the two books is a sufficient and wholly reasonable occasion for Germany’s temporary indifference to the one and her immediate welcome for the other. Shandy is whimsicality touched with sentiment. The Sentimental Journey is the record of a sentimental experience, guided by the caprice of a whimsical will. Whimsicality is a flower that defies transplanting; when once rooted in other soil it shoots up into obscurity, masquerading as profundity, or pure silliness without reason or a smile. The whimsies of one language become amazing contortions in another. The 34 humor of Shandy, though deep-dyed in Sterne’s own eccentricity, is still essentially British and demands for its appreciation a more extensive knowledge of British life in its narrowest, most individual phases, a more intensive sympathy with British attitudes of mind than the German of the eighteenth century, save in rare instances, possessed. Bode asserts in the preface to his translation of the Sentimental Journey that Shandy had been read by a good many Germans, but follows this remark with the query, “How many have understood it?” “One finds people,” he says, “who despise it as the most nonsensical twaddle, and cannot comprehend how others, whom they must credit with a good deal of understanding, wit, and learning, think quite otherwise of it,” and he closes by noting the necessity that one be acquainted with the follies of the world, and especially of the British world, to appreciate the novel. He refers unquestionably to his own circle of literati in Hamburg, who knew Tristram and cared for it, and to others of his acquaintance less favored with a knowledge of things English. The Sentimental Journey presented no inscrutable mystery of purposeful eccentricity and perplexing personality, but was written large in great human characters which he who ran might read. And Germany was ready to give it a welcome.61

1. A reviewer in the Frankfurter Gel. Anz., as early as 1774, asserts that Sterne had inspired more droll and sentimental imitations in Germany than even in England. (Apr. 5, 1774.)

2. See Bibliography for list of books giving more or less extended accounts of Sterne’s influence.

3. Sterne did, to be sure, assert in a letter (Letters, I, p. 34) that he wrote “not to be fed but to be famous.” Yet this was after this desire had been fulfilled, and, as the expression agrees with the tone and purpose of the letter in which it is found, it does not seem necessary to place too much weight upon it. It is very probable in view of evidence collected later that Sterne began at least to write Tristram as a pastime in domestic misfortune. The thirst for fame may have developed in the progress of the composition.

4. Fitzgerald says “end of December,” Vol. I, p. 116, and the volumes were reviewed in the December number of the Monthly Review, 1759 (Vol. XXI, pp. 561–571), though without any mention of the author’s name. This review mentions no other publisher than Cooper.

5. Quoted by Fitzgerald, Vol. I, p. 126.

6. The full title of this paper was Staats- und gelehrte Zeitung des Hamburgischen unpartheyischen Correspondenten.

7. Meusel: Lexicon der vom Jahr 1750 bis 1800 verstorbenen teutschen Schriftsteller. Bd. XV. (Leipzig bey Fleischer) 1816, pp, 472–474.

8. Berlin, bei August Mylius. 1764.

9. Behmer (L. Sterne und C. M. Wieland, p. 15) seems to be unaware of the translations of the following parts, and of the authorship.

10. This attempt to supply a ninth volume of Tristram Shandy seems to have been overlooked. A spurious third volume is mentioned in the Natl. Dict. of Biography and is attributed to John Carr. This ninth volume is however noticed in the London Magazine, 1766, p. 691, with accompanying statement that it is “not by the author of the eight volumes.” The genuine ninth volume is mentioned and quoted in this magazine in later issues, 1767, p. 78, 206.

11. This edition is reviewed also in Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1774, p. 97.

12. “Kein Deutscher, welcher das Uebersetzen aus fremden Sprachen als ein Handwerk ansieht.”

13. I, p. 111.

14. “Lexicon der Hamburgischen Schriftsteller,” Hamburg, 1851–1883.

15. Tristram Shandy, I, p. 107, and Zückert’s translation, I, p. 141.

16. In this review and in the announcement of Sterne’s death, this periodical refers to him as the Dean of York, a distinction which Sterne never enjoyed.

17. 1767, p. 691. The reference is given in the Register to 1753–1782 erroneously as p. 791.

18. “Predigten von Laurenz Sterne oder Yorick.” Zürich, bey Fuesslin & Comp, 1766–69. 3 vols.

19. The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek was founded in 1765.

20. XII, 1, pp. 210–211 and 2, p. 202.

21. For full title see Bibliography.

22. Vol. I, p. 460.

23. Edited by Klotz and founded in 1767, published at Halle by J. J. Gebauer. Vol. I, Part 2, p. 183.

24. Vol. II, p. 500.

25. The former says merely “the last parts”, the latter designates “the last three.”

26. III, 1, pp. 1 ff.

27. This article is not to be confused with Garve’s well-known article published in the same magazine, LXI, pp. 51–77 (1798).

28. IV, St. 2, pp. 376–7.

29. This is from the February number, 1767, of the Monthly Review. (Vol. XXXVI, p. 102.)

30. The seventh and eighth volumes of Shandy, English edition, are reviewed in the first number of a short-lived Frankfurt periodical, Neue Auszüge aus den besten ausländischen Wochen und Monatsschriften, 1765. Unterhaltungen, a magazine published at Hamburg and dealing largely with English interests, notes the London publication of the spurious ninth volume of Shandy (Vol. II, p. 152, August, 1766). Die Brittische Bibliothek, another magazine consisting principally of English reprints and literary news, makes no mention of Sterne up to 1767. Then in a catalogue of English books sold by Casper Fritsch in Leipzig, Shandy is given, but without the name of the author. There is an account of Sterne’s sermons in the Neue Hamburgische Zeitung, April, 1768.

31. Mendelssohn’s Schriften, edited by Prof. Dr. G. B. Mendelssohn. Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1844. Vol. V, p. 171.

32. Kürschner edition of Lessing’s works, III, 2, pp. 156–157. See also “Lessing und die Engländer” by Josef Caro in Euphorion, VI, pp. 489 ff. Erich Schmidt made the statement in his life of Lessing in the edition of 1884, but corrected it later, in the edition of 1899, probably depending on parallel passages drawn from Paul Albrecht’s “Lessing’s Plagiate” (Hamburg and Leipzig, 1888–1891), an extraordinary work which by its frequent absurdity and its viciousness of attack forfeits credence in its occasional genuine discoveries.

33. Lessing. “Geschichte seines Lebens und seiner Schriften.” Berlin, 1884, I, pp. 174, 465. This is omitted in the latest edition.

34. Perry (Thomas Sargeant) “From Opitz to Lessing.” Boston, 1885, p. 162.

35. Quoted by Lichtenberg in “Göttingischer Taschenkalender,” 1796, p. 191. “Vermischte Schriften,” VI, p. 487.

36. Lachmann edition, Berlin, 1840. Vol. XII, p. 240.

37. XIII, pp. 209–10.

38. XVII, pp. 30–45. The article is reprinted in the Hempel edition of Lessing, XVII, pp. 263–71.

39. Nicolai uses the German word for colonel, a title which Uncle Toby never bore.

40. R. Haym. “Herder nach seinem Leben und seinen Werken.” I, p. 413.

41. Haym, I, p. 261.

42. Herder’s “Briefe an Joh. Georg Hamann,” ed. by Otto Hoffmann, Berlin, 1889, p. 25, or “Lebensbild” II, p. 140.

43. “Briefe an Hamann,” p. 27.

44. Lebensbild II (I, 2), p. 256; also in Hamann’s Schriften, ed. by Roth. Berlin, 1822, III, p. 372. Hamann asks Herder to remind his publisher, when the latter sends the promised third part of the “Fragmente,” to inclose without fail the engraving of Sterne, because the latter is absolutely essential to his furnishings.

45. See Suphan I, p. 163; II, p. 46.

46. Suphan III, pp. 170, 223, 233, 277, 307.

47. Briefe an Hamann, p. 49.

48. . . . . in Auszug aus den Werken verschiedener Schriftsteller von Friedrich Just Riedel, Jena, 1767. The chapter cited is pp. 137 ff.

49. I, p. 106.

50. Pp. 91–96; see also p. 331.

51. Pp. 118–120, or Sämmtliche Schriften, Wien, 1787, 4ter Th., 4ter Bd., p. 133. A review with quotation of this criticism of Shandy is found in the Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften, II, p. 659, but after the publication of the Mittelstedt translation of the Sentimental Journey had been reviewed in the same periodical.

52. See “Julie von Bondeli und ihr Freundeskreis,” von Eduard Bodemann. Hannover, 1874.

53. Nicholas Ant. Kirchberger, the Swiss statesman and philosopher, the friend of Rousseau.

54. Behmer, “Laurence Sterne und C. M. Wieland,” pp. 15–17.

55. “Ausgewählte Briefe,” Bd. II, p. 285 f. Zürich, 1815.

56. V, pp. 345–6. 1774.

57. See Lebensbild, V, p. 107 and p. 40.

58. 1769, p. 840.

59. See Behmer, p. 24, and the letter to Riedel, October 26, 1768, Ludwig Wielands Briefsammlung. I, p. 232.

60. P. 856.

61. These two aspects of the Sterne cult in Germany will be more fully treated later. The historians of literature and other investigators who have treated Sterne’s influence in Germany have not distinguished very carefully the difference between Sterne’s two works, and the resulting difference between the kind and amount of their respective influences. Appell, however, interprets the condition correctly and assigns the cause with accuracy and pointedness. (“Werther und seine Zeit.” p. 246). The German critics repeat persistently the thought that the imitators of Sterne remained as far away from the originals as the Shakespeare followers from the great Elizabethan. See Gervinus, Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung, I, 184; Hettner, “Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im 18. Jahrhundert,” III, 1, p. 362; Hofer, “Deutsche Litteraturgeschichte,” p. 150.



On February 27, 1768, the Sentimental Journey was published in London,1 less than three weeks before the author’s death, and the book was at once transplanted to German soil, beginning there immediately its career of commanding influence and wide-spread popularity.

Several causes operated together in favoring its pronounced and immediate success. A knowledge of Sterne existed among the more intelligent lovers of English literature in Germany, the leaders of thought, whose voice compelled attention for the understandable, but was powerless to create appreciation for the unintelligible among the lower ranks of readers. This knowledge and appreciation of Yorick were immediately available for the furtherance of Sterne’s fame as soon as a work of popular appeal was published. The then prevailing interest in travels is, further, not to be overlooked as a forceful factor in securing immediate recognition for the Sentimental Journey.2 At no time in the world’s history has the popular interest in books of travel, containing geographical and topographical description, and information concerning peoples and customs, been greater than during this period. The presses teemed with stories of wanderers in known and unknown lands. The preface to the Neue Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen of Leipzig for the year 1759 heralds as a 36 matter of importance a gain in geographical description. The Jenaische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen, 1773, makes in its tables of contents, a separate division of travels. In 1759, also, the “Allgemeine Historie der Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande” (Leipzig, 1747–1774), reached its seventeenth volume. These are brief indications among numerous similar instances of the then predominant interest in the wanderer’s experience. Sterne’s second work of fiction, though differing in its nature so materially from other books of travel, may well, even if only from the allurement of its title, have shared the general enthusiasm for the traveler’s narrative. Most important, however, is the direct appeal of the book itself, irresistible to the German mind and heart. Germany had been for a decade hesitating on the verge of tears, and grasped with eagerness a book which seemed to give her British sanction for indulgence in her lachrymose desire.

The portion of Shandy which is virtually a part of the Sentimental Journey,3 which Sterne, possibly to satisfy the demands of the publisher, thrust in to fill out volumes contracted for, was not long enough, nor distinctive enough in its use of sentiment, was too effectually concealed in its volume of Shandean quibbles, to win readers for the whole of Shandy, or to direct wavering attention through the mazes of Shandyism up to the point where the sentimental Yorick really takes up the pen and introduces the reader to the sad fate of Maria of Moulines. One can imagine eager Germany aroused to sentimental frenzy over the Maria incident in the Sentimental Journey, turning with throbbing contrition to the forgotten, neglected, or unknown passage in Tristram Shandy.4

It is difficult to trace sources for Sterne in English letters, that is, for the strange combination of whimsicality, genuine sentiment and knavish smiles, which is the real Sterne. He is individual, exotic, not demonstrable from preceding literary conditions, and his meteoric, or rather rocket-like career in Britain is in its decline a proof of the insensibility of the English people to a large portion of his gospel. The creature of 37 fancy which, by a process of elimination, the Germans made out of Yorick is more easily explicable from existing and preceding literary and emotional conditions in Germany.5 Brockes had prepared the way for a sentimental view of nature, Klopstock’s poetry had fostered the display of emotion, the analysis of human feeling. Gellert had spread his own sort of religious and ethical sentimentalism among the multitudes of his devotees. Stirred by, and contemporaneous with Gallic feeling, Germany was turning with longing toward the natural man, that is, man unhampered by convention and free to follow the dictates of the primal emotions. The exercise of human sympathy was a goal of this movement. In this vague, uncertain awakening, this dangerous freeing of human feelings, Yorick’s practical illustration of the sentimental life could not but prove an incentive, an organizer, a relief for pent-up emotion.6

Johann Joachim Christoph Bode has already been mentioned in relation to the early review of Zückert’s translation of Shandy. His connection with the rapid growth of the Yorick cult after the publication of the Sentimental Journey demands a more extended account of this German apostle of Yorick. In the sixth volume of Bode’s translation of Montaigne7 was printed first the life of the translator by C. A. Böttiger. This 38 was published the following year by the same house in a separate volume entitled “J. J. C. Bodes literarisches Leben, nebst dessen Bildnis von Lips.” All other sources of information regarding Bode, such as the accounts in Jördens and in Schlichtegroll’s “Nekrolog,”8 are derivations or abstracts from this biography. Bode was born in Braunschweig in 1730; reared in lowly circumstances and suffering various vicissitudes of fortune, he came to Hamburg in 1756–7. Gifted with a talent for languages, which he had cultivated assiduously, he was regarded at the time of his arrival, even in Hamburg, as one especially conversant with the English language and literature. His nature must have borne something akin to Yorick, for his biographer describes his position in Hamburg society as not dissimilar to that once occupied for a brief space in the London world by the clever fêted Sterne. Yet the enthusiasm of the friend as biographer doubtless colors the case, forcing a parallel with Yorick by sheer necessity. Before 1768 Bode had published several translations from the English with rather dubious success, and the adaptability of the Sentimental Journey to German uses must have occurred to him, or have been suggested to him directly upon its very importation into Germany. He undoubtedly set himself to the task of translation as soon as the book reached his hands, for, in the issue of the Hamburgische Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten for April 20, is found Bode’s translation of a section from the Sentimental Journey. “Die Bettler” he names the extract; it is really the fifth of the sections which Sterne labels “Montriul.”9 In the numbers of the same paper for June 11 and 15, Bode translates in two parts the story of the “Monk;” thus, in but little over three months after its English publication, the story of the poor Franciscan Lorenzo and his fateful snuff-box was transferred to Germany and began its heart-touching career. These excerpts were included by Bode later in the year when he published his translation of the whole Sentimental 39 Journey. The first extract was evidently received with favor and interest, for, in the foreword to the translation of the “Monk,” in the issue of June 11, Bode assigns this as his reason for making his readers better acquainted with this worthy book. He further says that the reader of taste and insight will not fail to distinguish the difference when so fine a connoisseur of the human heart as Sterne depicts sentiments, and when a shallow wit prattles of his emotions. Bode’s last words are a covert assumption of his rôle as prophet and priest of Yorick in Germany: “The reader may himself judge from the following passage, whether we have spoken of our Briton in terms of too high praise.”

In the July number of the Unterhaltungen, another Hamburg periodical, is printed another translation from the Sentimental Journey entitled: “Eine Begebenheit aus Yoricks Reise fürs Herz übersetzt.” The episode is that of the fille de chambre10 who is seeking Crébillon’s “Les Egarements du Coeur et de l’Esprit.” The translator omits the first part of the section and introduces us to the story with a few unacknowledged words of his own. In the September number of the same periodical the rest of the fille de chambre story11 is narrated. Here also the translator alters the beginning of the account to make it less abrupt in the rendering. The author of this translation has not been determined. Bode does not translate the word “Sentimental” in his published extracts, giving merely the English title; hence Lessing’s advice12 concerning the rendering of the word dates probably from the latter part of the summer. The translation in the September number of the Unterhaltungen also does not contain a rendering of the word. Bode’s complete translation was issued probably in October,13 possibly late in September, 1768, and bore the imprint of the publisher Cramer in Hamburg and Bremen, but 40 the volumes were printed at Bode’s own press and were entitled “Yoricks Empfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien, aus dem Englischen übersetzt.”14

The translator’s preface occupies twenty pages and is an important document in the story of Sterne’s popularity in Germany, since it represents the introductory battle-cry of the Sterne cult, and illustrates the attitude of cultured Germany toward the new star. Bode begins his foreword with Lessing’s well-known statement of his devotion to Sterne. Bode does not name Lessing; calls him “a well-known German scholar.” The statement referred to was made when Bode brought to his friend the news of Sterne’s death. It is worth repeating:

“I would gladly have resigned to him five years of my own life, if such a thing were possible, though I had known with certainty that I had only ten, or even eight left. . . . but under the condition that he must keep on writing, no matter what, life and opinions, or sermons, or journeys.” On July 5, 1768, Lessing wrote to Nicolai, commenting on Winckelmann’s death as follows: “He is the second author within a short time, to whom I would have gladly given some years of my own life.”15

Nearly thirty years later (March 20, 1797) Sara Wulf, whose maiden name was Meyer and who was later and better known as Frau von Grotthus, wrote from Dresden to Goethe of the consolation found in “Werther” after a disappointing youthful love affair, and of Lessing’s conversation with her then concerning Goethe. She reports Lessing’s words as follows: “You will feel sometime what a genius Goethe is, I am sure of this. I have always said I would give ten years of my own life if I had been able to lengthen Sterne’s by one year, but Goethe consoles me in some measure for his loss.”16

It would be absurd to attach any importance to this variation of statement. It does not indicate necessarily an affection for Sterne and a regret at his loss, mathematically doubled in these seven or eight years between Sterne’s death and the time of Lessing’s conversation with Sara Meyer; it probably arises 41 from a failure of memory on the part of the lady, for Bode’s narrative of the anecdote was printed but a few months after Sterne’s death, and Lessing made no effort to correct an inaccuracy of statement, if such were the case, though he lived to see four editions of Bode’s translation and consequently so many repetitions of his expressed but impossible desire. Erich Schmidt17 reduces this willingness on Lessing’s part to one year,—an unwarranted liberty.

These two testimonies of Lessing’s devotion are of importance in defining his attitude toward Yorick. They attest the fact that this was no passing fancy, no impulsive thought uttered on the moment when the news of Sterne’s death was brought to him, and when the Sentimental Journey could have been but a few weeks in his hands, but a deep-seated desire, born of reflection and continued admiration.18 The addition of the word “Reisen” in Bode’s narrative is significant, for it shows that Lessing must have become acquainted with the Sentimental Journey before April 6, the date of the notice of Sterne’s death in the Hamburgische Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten;19 that is, almost immediately after its English publication, unless Bode, in his enthusiasm for the book which he was offering the public, inserted the word unwarrantably in Lessing’s statement.

To return to Bode’s preface. With emphatic protestations, disclaiming vanity in appealing to the authority of so distinguished a friend, Bode proceeds to relate more in detail Lessing’s connection with his endeavor. He does not say that Lessing suggested the translation to him, though his account has been interpreted to mean that, and this fact has been generally accepted by the historians of literature and the biographers 42 of Lessing.20 The tone of Bode’s preface, however, rather implies the contrary, and no other proof of the supposition is available. What Bode does assert is merely that the name of the scholar whom he quotes as having expressed a willingness to give a part of his own life if Sterne’s literary activity might be continued, would create a favorable prepossession for his original (“ein günstiges Vorurtheil”), and that a translator is often fortunate enough if his selection of a book to translate is not censured. All this implies, on Lessing’s part, only an approval of Bode’s choice, a fact which would naturally follow from the remarkable statement of esteem in the preceding sentence. Bode says further that out of friendship for him and regard for the reader of taste, this author (Lessing), had taken the trouble to go through the whole translation, and then he adds the conventional request in such circumstances, that the errors remaining may be attributed to the translator and not to the friend.

The use of the epithet “empfindsam” for “sentimental” is then the occasion for some discussion, and its source is one of the facts involved in Sterne’s German vogue which seem to have fastened themselves on the memory of literature. Bode had in the first place translated the English term by “sittlich,” a manifestly insufficient if not flatly incorrect rendering, but his friend coined the word “empfindsam” for the occasion and Bode quotes Lessing’s own words on the subject:

“Bemerken Sie sodann dass sentimental ein neues Wort ist. 43 War es Sternen erlaubt, sich ein neues Wort zu bilden, so muss es eben darum auch seinem Uebersetzer erlaubt seyn. Die Engländer hatten gar kein Adjectivum von Sentiment: wir haben von Empfindung mehr als eines, empfindlich, empfindbar, empfindungsreich, aber diese sagen alle etwas anders. Wagen Sie, empfindsam! Wenn eine mühsame Reise eine Reise heisst, bey der viel Mühe ist: so kann ja auch eine empfindsame Reise eine Reise heissen, bey der viel Empfindung war. Ich will nicht sagen, dass Sie die Analogie ganz auf ihrer Seite haben dürften. Aber was die Leser vors erste bey dem Worte noch nicht denken mögen, sie sich nach und nach dabey zu denken gewöhnen.”21

The statement that Sterne coined the word “sentimental” is undoubtedly incorrect,22 but no one seems to have discovered and corrected the error till Nicolai’s article on Sterne in the Berlinische Monatsschrift for February, 1795, in which it is shown that the word had been used in older English novels, in “Sir Charles Grandison” indeed.23 It may well be that, as Böttiger hints,24 the coining of the word “empfindsam” was suggested to Lessing by Abbt’s similar formation of “empfindnisz.”25

The preface to this first edition of Bode’s translation of the Sentimental Journey contains, further, a sketch of Sterne’s life,26 his character and his works. Bode relates the familiar 44 story of the dog, but misses the point entirely in rendering “puppy” by “Geck” in Sterne’s reply, “So lang er ein Geck ist.” The watchcoat episode is narrated, and a brief account is given of Sterne’s fortunes in London with Tristram Shandy and the sermons. Allusion has already been made to the hints thrown out in this sketch relative to the reading of Sterne in Germany. A translation from Shandy of the passage descriptive of Parson Yorick serves as a portrait for Sterne.

A second edition of Bode’s work was published in 1769. The preface, which is dated “Anfang des Monats Mai, 1769,” is in the main identical with the first, but has some significant additions. A word is said relative to his controversy with a critic, which is mentioned later.27 Bode confesses further that the excellence of his work is due to Ebert and Lessing,28 though modesty compelled his silence in the previous preface concerning the source of his aid. Bode admits that even this disclosure is prompted by the clever guess of a critic in the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent,29 who openly named Lessing as the scholar referred to in the first introduction. The addition and prominence of Ebert’s name is worthy of note, for in spite of the plural mention30 in the appendix to the introduction, his first acknowledgment is to one friend only and there is no suggestion of another counselor. Ebert’s connection with the Bode translation has been overlooked in the distribution of influence, while the memorable coining of the new word, supplemented by Böttiger’s unsubstantiated statements, has emphasized Lessing’s service in this regard. Ebert is well-known as an intelligent and appreciative student of English literature, and as a translator, but his own works betray no trace of imitation or admiration of Sterne.

The final words of this new preface promise a translation of the continuation of the Sentimental Journey; the spurious volumes of Eugenius are, of course, the ones meant here. This 45 introduction to the second edition remains unchanged in the subsequent ones. The text of the second edition was substantially an exact reproduction of the first, but Bode allowed himself frequent minor changes of word or phrase, an alteration occurring on an average once in about three pages. Bode’s changes are in general the result of a polishing or filing process, in the interest of elegance of discourse, or accuracy of translation. Bode acknowledges that some of the corrections were those suggested by a reviewer,31 but states that other passages criticised were allowed to stand as they were. He says further that he would have asked those friends who had helped him on his translation itself to aid him in the alterations, if distance and other conditions had allowed. The reference here is naturally to his separation from Ebert, who was in Braunschweig, but the other “conditions” which could prevent a continuation of Lessing’s interest in the translation and his assistance in revision are not evident. Lessing was in Hamburg during this period, and hence his advice was available.

Bode’s retranslation of the passage with which Sterne’s work closed shows increased perception and appreciation for the subtleness of Sterne’s indecent suggestions, or, perhaps, a growing lack of timidity or scruple in boldly repeating them. It is probable that the continuation by Eugenius, which had come into his hands during this period, had, with its resumption of the point, reminded Bode of the inadequacy and inexactness of his previous rendering.

At almost precisely the same time that Bode’s translation appeared, another German rendering was published, a fact which in itself is significant for the determination of the relative strength of appeal as between Sterne’s two works of fiction. The title32 of this version was “Versuch über die menschliche 46 Natur in Herrn Yoricks, Verfasser des Tristram Shandy, Reisen durch Frankreich und Italien, aus dem Englischen.” It was dated 1769 and was published at the “Fürstliche Waisenhausbuchhandlung,” in Braunschweig. The preface is signed Braunschweig, September 7, 1768, and the book was issued in September or October. The anonymous translator was Pastor Mittelstedt33 in Braunschweig (Hirsching und Jördens say Hofprediger), whom the partisan Böttiger calls the ever-ready manufacturer of translations (der allezeit fertige Uebersetzungsfabrikant). Behmer tentatively suggests Weis as the translator of this early rendering, an error into which he is led evidently by a remark in Bode’s preface in which the apologetic translator states the rumor that Weis was engaged in translating the same book, and that he (Bode) would surely have locked up his work in his desk if the publisher had not thereby been led to suffer loss. Nothing was ever heard of this third translation.

This first edition of the Mittelstedt translation contains 248 pages and is supplied with a preface which is, like Bode’s, concerned in considerable measure with the perplexing problem of the translation of Sterne’s title. The English title is given and the word “sentimental” is declared a new one in England and untranslatable in German. Mittelstedt proposes “Gefühlvolle Reisen,” “Reisen fürs Herz,” “Philosophische Reisen,” and then condemns his own suggestions as indeterminate and forced. He then goes on to say, “So I have chosen the title which Yorick himself suggests in the first part.”34 He speaks of the lavish praise already bestowed on this book by the learned journals, and turns at last aside to do the obvious: he bemoans Sterne’s death by quoting Hamlet and closes with an apostrophe to Sterne translated from the April number of the Monthly Review for 1768.35 In 1769, the year when the first 47 edition was dated, the Mittelstedt translation was published under a slightly altered title, as already mentioned. This second edition of the Mittelstedt translation in the same year as the first is overlooked by Jördens and Hirsching,36 both of whom give a second and hence really a third edition in 1774. Böttiger notes with partisan zeal that Bode’s translation was made use of in some of the alterations of this second edition, and further records the fact that the account of Sterne’s life, added in this edition, was actually copied from Bode’s preface.37

The publication of the Mittelstedt translation was the occasion of a brief controversy between the two translators in contemporary journals. Mittelstedt printed his criticism of Bode’s work in a home paper, the Braunschweiger Intelligenzblätter, and Bode spoke out his defense in the Neue Hamburger Zeitung. That Bode in his second edition adopted some of the reviewer’s suggestions and criticisms has been noted, but in the preface to this edition he declines to resume the strife in spite of general expectation of it, but, as a final shot, he delivers himself of “an article from his critical creed,” that the “critic is as little infallible as author or translator,” which seems, at any rate, a rather pointless and insignificant contribution to the controversy.

Bode’s translation of the third and fourth volumes of Yorick’s Journey,38 that is, the continuation by Eugenius, followed directly after the announcement in the preface to the second edition of the first two volumes, as already mentioned. Böttiger states that Bode had this continuation from Alberti and knew it before anyone else in Germany. It was published in England in the spring of 1769, and was greeted with a disapproval which was quite general, and it never enjoyed there 48 any considerable genuine popularity or recognition. Bode published this translation of Stevenson’s work without any further word of comment or explanation whatsoever, a fact which easily paved the way for a misunderstanding relative to the volumes, for Bode was frequently regarded as their author and held responsible for their defects. Bode himself never made any satisfactory or adequate explanation of his attitude toward these volumes, and the reply to Goeze in the introduction to his translation of Shandy is the nearest approach to a discussion of his position. But there Bode is concerned only with the attack made by the Hamburg pastor upon his character, an inference drawn from the nature of the book translated, and the character of the translation; in the absence of a new edition in which “Mine and His shall be marked off by distinct boundaries,” he asks Goeze only to send to him, and beg “for original and translation,” naturally for the purpose of comparison. This evasive reply is Bode’s only defense or explanation. Böttiger claims that the review of Bode’s translation in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek did much to spread the idea of Bode’s authorship, though the reviewer in that periodical39 only suggests the possibility of German authorship, a suspicion aroused by the substitution of German customs and motif and word-play, together with contemporary literary allusion, allusion to literary mediocrities and obscurities, of such a nature as to preclude the possibility of the book’s being a literal translation from the English.

The exact amount and the nature of Bode’s divergence from the original, his alterations and additions, have never been definitely stated by anyone. The reviewer in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek is manifestly ignorant of the original. Böttiger is indefinite and partisan, yet his statement of the facts has been generally accepted and constantly repeated. He admits the German coloring given the translation by Bode through German allusions and German word-plays: he says that Bode allowed himself these liberties, feeling that he was no longer dealing with Sterne, a statement of motive on Bode’s 49 part which the latter never makes and never hints at. The only absolute additions which Böttiger mentions as made by Bode to the narrative of Eugenius are the episode, “Das Hündchen,” and the digression, “Die Moral.” The erroneous idea herein implied has been caught up and repeated by nearly everyone who has mentioned Bode’s translation of the work.40 The less certain allusion to “Die Moral” has been lost sight of, and “Das Hündchen” alone has been remembered as representing this activity on Bode’s part. In fact this episode is only one of many pure creations on Bode’s part and one of the briefer. In the first pages of these volumes Bode is faithful to the original, a fact suggesting that examination or comparison of the original text and Bode’s translation was never carried beyond the first two-score pages; yet here, it would seem, Bode’s rendering was less careful, more open to censure for inaccuracy, than in the previous volumes.41

This method of translation obtains up to page 48, then Bode omits a half-page of half-innocent, half-revolting suggestion, the story of the Cordelier, and from the middle of page 49 to page 75, twenty-five pages, the translator adds material absolutely his own. This fiction, introducing Yorick’s sentimental attitude toward the snuff-box, resuming a sentimental episode in Sterne’s work, full of tears and sympathy, is especially characteristic of Yorick, as the Germans conceived him. The story 50 is entitled “Das Mündel,”42 “The Ward,” and is evidently intended as a masculine companion-piece to the fateful story of Maria of Moulines, linked to it even in the actual narrative itself. An unfortunate, half-crazed man goes about in silence, performing little services in an inn where Yorick finds lodging. The hostess tells his story. He was once the brilliant son of the village miller, was well-educated and gifted with scholarly interests and attainments. While instructing some children at Moulines, he meets a peasant girl, and love is born between them. An avaricious brother opposes Jacques’s passion and ultimately confines him in secret, spreading the report in Moulines of his faithlessness to his love. After a tragedy has released Jacques from his unnatural bondage, he learns of his loved one’s death and loses his mental balance through grief. Such an addition to the brief pathos of Maria’s story, as narrated by Sterne, such a forced explanation of the circumstances, is peculiarly commonplace and inartistic. Sterne instinctively closed the episode with sufficient allowance for the exercise of the imagination.

Following this addition, the section “Slander” of the original is omitted. The story of the adventure with the opera-girl is much changed. The bald indecency of the narrative is somewhat softened by minor substitutions and omissions. Nearly two pages are inserted here, in which Yorick discourses on the difference between a sentimental traveler and an avanturier. On pages 122–126, the famous “Hündchen” episode is narrated, an insertion taking the place of the hopelessly vulgar “Rue Tireboudin.” According to this narrative, Yorick, after the fire, enters a home where he finds a boy weeping over a dead dog and refusing to be comforted with promises of other canine possessions. The critics united in praising this as being a positive addition to the Yorick adventures, as conceived and related in Sterne’s finest manner. After the lapse of more than a century, one can acknowledge the pathos, the humanity of the incident, but the manner is not that of Sterne. It is a simple, straight-forward relation of the touching incident, introducing 51 that element of the sentimental movement which bears in Germany a close relation to Yorick, and was exploited, perhaps, more than any other feature of his creed, as then interpreted, i.e., the sentimental regard for the lower animals.43 But there is lacking here the inevitable concomitant of Sterne’s relation of a sentimental situation, the whimsicality of the narrator in his attitude at the time of the adventure, or reflective whimsicality in the narration. Sterne is always whimsically quizzical in his conduct toward a sentimental condition, or toward himself in the analysis of his conduct.

After the “Vergebene Nachforschung” (Unsuccessful Inquiry), which agrees with the original, Bode adds two pages covering the touching solicitude of La Fleur for his master’s safety. This addition is, like the “Hündchen” episode, just mentioned, of considerable significance, for it illustrates another aspect of Sterne’s sentimental attitude toward human relations, which appealed to the Germany of these decades and was extensively copied; the connection between master and man. Following this added incident, Bode omits completely three sections of Eugenius’s original narrative, “The Definition,” “Translation of a Fragment” and “An Anecdote;” all three are brief and at the same time of baldest, most revolting indecency. In all, Bode’s direct additions amount in this first volume to about thirty-three pages out of one hundred and forty-two. The divergences from the original are in the second volume (the fourth as numbered from Sterne’s genuine Journey) more marked and extensive: above fifty pages are entirely Bode’s own, and the individual alterations in word, phrase, allusion and sentiment are more numerous and unwarranted. The more significant of Bode’s additions are here noted. “Die Moral” (pages 32–37) contains a fling at Collier, the author of a mediocre English translation of Klopstock’s “Messias,” and another against Kölbele, a contemporary German 52 novelist, whose productions have long since been forgotten.44

Eugenius’s chapter, “Vendredi-Saint,” Bode sees fit to alter in a rather extraordinary way, by changing the personnel and giving it quite another introduction. He inserts here a brief account of Walter Shandy, his disappointment at Tristram’s calamitous nose and Tristram’s name, and his resolve to perfect his son’s education; and then he makes the visit to M’lle Laborde, as narrated by Eugenius, an episode out of Walter Shandy’s book, which was written for Tristram’s instruction, and, according to Bode, was delivered for safe-keeping into Yorick’s hands. Bode changes M’lle Laborde into M’lle Gillet, and Walter Shandy is her visitor, not Yorick. Bode allows himself some verbal changes and softens the bald suggestion at the end. Bode’s motive for this startling change is not clear beyond question. The most plausible theory is that the open and gross suggestion of immoral relation between Yorick, the clergyman and moralist, and the Paris maiden, seemed to Bode inconsistent with the then current acceptation of Yorick’s character; and hence he preferred by artifice to foist the misdemeanor on to the elder Shandy.

The second extensive addition of Bode’s in this volume is the section called “Die Erklärung,” and its continuation in the two following divisions, a story which unites itself with the “Fragment” in Sterne’s original narration. Yorick is ill and herbs are brought to him in paper wrappings which turn out to contain the story of the decayed gentleman, which, according to Sterne’s relation, the Notary was beginning to write. It will be remembered that the introduction in Sterne was also brought by La Fleur as a bit of wrapping paper. This curious coincidence, this prosaic resumption of the broken narrative, is naïve at least, but can hardly commend itself to any critic as being other than commonplace and bathetic. The story itself, 53 as related by the dying man is a tale of accidental incest told quietly, earnestly, but without a suggestion of Sterne’s wit or sentiment.

In the next section, emanating entirely from Bode, “Vom Gesundheitstrinken,” the author is somewhat more successful in catching the spirit of Sterne in his buoyancy, and in his whimsical anecdote telling: it purports to be an essay by the author’s friend, Grubbius. The last addition made by Bode45 introduces once more Yorick’s sentiment relative to man’s treatment of the animal world. Yorick, walking in the garden of an acquaintance, shoots a sparrow and meets with reproof from the owner of the garden. Yorick protests prosaically that it was only a sparrow, yet on being assured that it was also a living being, he succumbs to vexation and self-reproof at his own failure to be true to his own higher self. A similar regret, a similar remorse at sentimental thoughtlessness, is recorded of the real Yorick in connection with the Franciscan, Lorenzo. But there is present in Sterne’s story the inevitable element of caprice in thought or action, the whimsical inconsistency of varying moods, not a mere commonplace lapse from a sentimental creed. In one case, Yorick errs through whim, in the other, merely through heedlessness.

Bode’s attitude toward the continuation of Eugenius and the general nature of his additions have been suggested by the above account. A résumé of the omissions and the verbal changes would indicate that they were made frequently because of the indecency of the original; the transference of the immorality in the episode of M’lle. Laborde and Walter Shandy, if the reason above suggested be allowed, is further proof of Bode’s solicitude for Yorick’s moral reputation. Yet the retention of the episode “Les Gants d’Amour” in its entirety, and of parts of the continued story of the Piedmontese, may seem inconsistent and irreconcilable with any absolute objection on Bode’s part other than a quantitative one, to this loathesome element of the Eugenius narrative.

Albrecht Wittenberg46 in a letter to Jacobi, dated Hamburg, 54 April 21, 1769, says he reads that Riedel is going to continue “Yorick’s Reisen,” and comments upon the exceedingly difficult undertaking. Nothing further is known of this plan of Riedel’s.

1. Various German authorities date the Sentimental Journey erroneously 1767. Jördens, V, p. 753; Koberstein, III, p. 463; Hirsching, XIII, pp. 291–309.

2. The reviewer in the Allg. deutsche Bibl. (Anhang I-XII, vol. II, p. 896) implies a contemporary cognizance of this aid to its popularity. He notes the interest in accounts of travels and fears that some readers will be disappointed after taking up the book. Some French books of travel, notably Chapelle’s “Voyage en Provence,” 1656, were read with appreciation by cultivated Germany and had their influence parallel and auxiliary to Sterne’s.

3. In the Seventh Book of Tristram Shandy. III, pp. 47–110.

4. III, pp. 210–213.

5. The emotional groundwork in Germany which furthered the appreciation of the Journey, and the sober sanity of British common sense which choked its English sweep, are admirably and typically illustrated in the story of the meeting of Fanny Burney and Sophie la Roche, as told in the diary of the former (“The Diary and Letters of Frances Burney, Madame D’Arblay,” Boston, 1880, I, p. 291), entries for September 11 and 17, 1786. On their second meeting Mme. D’Arblay writes of the German sentimentalist: “Madame la Roche then rising and fixing her eyes filled with tears on my face, while she held both my hands, in the most melting accents exclaimed, ‘Miss Borni, la plus chère, la plus digne des Anglaises, dites—moi—m’aimez vous?’” Miss Burney is quite sensibly frank in her inability to fathom this imbecility. Ludmilla Assing (“Sophie la Roche,” Berlin, 1859, pp. 273–280) calls Miss Burney cold and petty.

6. So heartily did the Germans receive the Sentimental Journey that it was felt ere long to be almost a German book. The author of “Ueber die schönen Geister und Dichter des 18ten Jahrhunderts vornehmlich unter den Deutschen,” by J. C. Fritsch (?) (Lemgo, 1771), gives the book among German stories and narratives (pp. 177–9) along with Hagedorn, Gellert, Wieland and others. He says of the first parts of the Sentimental Journey, “zwar . . . . aus dem Englischen übersetzt; kann aber für national passieren.”

7. Michael Montaigne’s “Gedanken und Meinungen über Allerley Gegenstände. Ins Deutsch übersetzt.” Berlin (Lagarde) 1793–5. Bode’s life is in Vol. VI, pages III-CXLIV. For a review of Bode’s Life see Neue Bibl. der schönen Wissenschaften, LVIII, p. 93.

8. Supplementband für 1790–93, pp. 350–418.

9. The references to the Hamburgische Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten are as follows: 1768, pages 241, 361 and 369 respectively.

10. Pp. 71–74.

11. Pp. 101–104. “The Temptation” and the “Conquest.” The Unterhaltungen is censured by the Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften, III, p. 266, for printing a poor translation from Yorick when two translations had already been announced. The references to Unterhaltungen are respectively pp. 12–16, and 209–213.

12. See below, p. 42–3.

13. It was reviewed in the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent, Oct. 29.

14. I, pp. XX, 168; II, p. 168.

15. Lachmann’s edition, 1840, XII, p. 199.

16. See Goethe-Jahrbuch, XIV (1893), pp. 51–52.

17. “Heinrich Leopold Wagner, Goethe’s Jugendgenosse,” 2d ed. Jena, Frommann, 1879, p. 104.

18. It is not possible to date with absolute certainty the time of Lessing’s conversation with Sara Meyer, but it was after the publication of “Werther,” and must have been on one of his two visits to Berlin after that, that is, in March, 1775, on his way to Vienna, or in February, 1776, on his return from Italy.

19. Bode must have come to Lessing with the information before this public announcement, for Lessing could hardly have failed to learn of it when once published in a prominent Hamburg periodical.

20. Böttiger in his biographical sketch of Bode is the first to make this statement (p. lxiii), and the spread of the idea and its general acceptation are directly traceable to his authority. The Neue Bibl. der schönen Wissenschaften in its review of Böttiger’s work repeats the statement (LVIII, p. 97), and it is again repeated by Jördens (I, p. 114, edition of 1806), by Danzel-Guhrauer with express mention of Böttiger (“Lessing, sein Leben und seine Werke,” II. Erste Abtheilung, p. 287), and by Erich Schmidt (“Lessing, Geschichte seines Lebens und seiner Schriften,” Berlin, 1899, I, p. 674). The editor of the Hempel edition, VII, p. 553 claims Lessing as responsible for the translation of the Journey, and also of Shandy. The success of the “Empfindsame Reise” and the popularity of Sterne are quite enough to account for the latter translation and there is no evidence of urging on Lessing’s part. A similar statement is found in Gervinus (V, p. 194). The Frankfurter Gel. Anz. (Apr. 21, 1775), p. 267, credits Wieland with having urged Bode to translate Shandy. The Neue Critische Nachrichten, Greifswald, IX, p. 279, makes the same statement. The article, however, in the Teutscher Merkur (1773, II, pp. 228–30) expresses merely a great satisfaction that Bode is engaged upon the work, and gives some suggestions to him about it.

21. See Bode’s Introduction, p. iii, iv. Also Allg. deutsche Bibl., Anhang, I-XII, Vol. II, pp. 896–9.

22. Strangely enough the first use of this word which has been found is in one of Sterne’s letters, written in 1740 to the lady who subsequently became his wife. (Letters, p. 25). But these letters were not published till 1775, long after the word was in common use. An obscure Yorkshire clergyman can not be credited with its invention.

23. Böttiger refers to Campe’s work, “Ueber die Bereicherung und Reinigung der deutschen Sprache,” p. 297 ff., for an account of the genesis of this word, but adds that Campe is incorrect in his assertion that Sterne coined the word. Campe does not make the erroneous statement at all, but Bode himself puts it in the mouth of Lessing.

24. See foot note to page lxiii.

25. For particulars concerning this parallel formation see Mendelssohn’s Schriften, ed. by G. B. Mendelssohn, Leipzig, 1844. V, pp. 330, 335–7, letters between Abbt, Mendelssohn, Nicolai.

26. The source of Bode’s information is the article by Dr. Hill, first published in the Royal Female Magazine for April, 1760, and reprinted in the London Chronicle, May 5, 1760 (pp. 434–435), under the title, “Anecdotes of a fashionable Author.” Bode’s sketch is an abridged translation of this article. This article is referred to in Sterne’s letters, I, pp. 38–9, 42.

27. See p. 47.

28. “Dass ich das Gute, was man an meiner Uebersetzung findet, grössten Theils denen Herren Ebert und Lessing zu verdanken habe.”

29. Hamburgischer Unpartheyischer Correspondent, October 29, 1768.

30. “Verschwieg ich die Namen dieser Männer.”

31. See p. 47.

32. Jördens gives this title, which is the correct one. Appell in “Werther und seine Zeit,” (p. 247) calls it “Herrn Yoricks, Verfasser (sic) des Tristram Shandy Reisen durch Frankreich und Italien, als ein Versuch über die menschliche Natur,” which is the title of the second edition published later, but with the same date. See Allg. deutsche Bibliothek, Anhang, I-XII, Vol. II, pp. 896–9. Kayser and Heinsius both give “Empfindsame Reisen durch Frankreich und Italien, oder Versuch über die menschliche Natur,” which is evidently a confusion with the better known Bode translation, an unconscious effort to locate the book.

33. Through some strange confusion, a reviewer in the Jenaische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen (1769, p. 574) states that Ebert is the author of this translation; he also asserts that Bode and Lessing had translated the book; it is reported too that Bode is to issue a new translation in which he makes use of the work of Lessing and Ebert, a most curious record of uncertain rumor.

34. See p. 31, “In the Street, Calais.” “If this won’t turn out something, another will. No matter,—’tis an essay upon human nature.”

35. Monthly Review, XXXVIII, p. 319: “Gute Nacht, bewunderungswürdiger Yorick! Dein Witz, Deine Menschenliebe! Dein redliches Herz! ein jedes untadelhafte Stück deines Lebens und deiner Schriften müsse in einem unsterblichen Gedächtnisse blühen,—und O! mögte der Engel, der jenes aufgezeichnet hat, über die Unvollkommenheiten von beiden eine Thräne des Mitleidens fallen lassen und sie auf ewig auslöschen.”

36. Jördens, V, p. 753. Hirsching, Historisch-litterarisches Handbuch, XIII, pp. 291–309 (1809).

37. It has not been possible to examine this second edition, but the information concerning Sterne’s life may quite possibly have been taken not from Bode’s work but from his sources as already given.

38. “Yoriks empfindsame Reise, aus dem Englischen übersetzt,” 3ter und 4ter Theil, Hamburg und Bremen, bei Cramer, 1769.

39. See Allg. deutsche Bibl. Anhang, I-XII, Vol. II, pp. 896–9. Hirsching (Hist.-Litt. Handbuch) says confusedly that Bode wrote the fourth and fifth parts.

40. See Neue Bibl. der schönen Wissenschaften, LVIII, p. 98, “Im dritten Bande ist die rührende Geschichte, das Hündchen, ganz von ihm.” Also Jördens, I, 114, Heine, “Der deutsche Roman,” p. 23.

41. The following may serve as examples of inadequate, inexact or false renderings:


Like a stuck pig.

P. 5: Eine arme Hexe, die Feuer-Probe machen soll.

Dress as well as undress.

P. 9: Der Kleidung als der Einkleidung.

Chance medley of sensation.

P. 11: Unschuldiges Verbrechen der Sinne.

Where serenity was wont to fix her reign.

P. 13: Wo die Heiterkeit ihren Sitz aufgeschlagen hatte.

Wayward shades of my canvas.

P. 20: Die harten Schattirungen meines Gewebes.


P. 22: Heuschrecken.

The chance medley of existence.

P. 23: Das unschuldige Verbrechen des Daseyns.

42. Bode’s story, “Das Mündel” was printed in the Hamburgische Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten, 1769, p. 729 (November 23) and p. 753 (December 4).

43. There will be frequent occasion to mention this impulse emanating from Sterne, in the following pages. One may note incidentally an anonymous book “Freundschaften” (Leipzig, 1775) in which the author beholds a shepherd who finds a torn lamb and indulges in a sentimental reverie upon it. Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXVI, 1, 139.

44. Bode inserts “Miss Judith Meyer” and “Miss Philippine Damiens,” two poor novels by this Kölbele in place of Eugenius’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Böttiger comments, “statt des im englischen Original angeführten schalen Romans ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress.’” Bode, in translating Shandy several years later, inserts for the same book, “Thousand and one Nights.” In speaking of this, Böttiger calls “Pilgrim’s Progress” “die schale engländische Robinsonade,” an eloquent proof of Böttiger’s ignorance of English literature.

45. Pp. 166 ff.

46. Quellen und Forschungen, XXII, p. 129.



The publication of the Sentimental Journey, as implied in the previous chapter, brought Sterne into vital connection with literary impulses and emotional experiences in Germany, and his position as a leader was at once recognized. Because of the immediate translations, the reviews of the English original are markedly few, even in journals which gave considerable attention to English literary affairs. The Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften1 purposely delays a full review of the book because of the promised translation, and contents itself with the remark, “that we have not read for a long time anything more full of sentiment and humor.” Yet, strangely enough, the translation is never worthily treated, only the new edition of 1771 is mentioned,2 with especial praise of Füger’s illustrations.

Other journals devote long reviews to the new favorite: according to the Jenaische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen3 all the learned periodicals vied with one another in lavish bestowal of praise upon these Journeys. The journals consulted go far toward justifying this statement.

The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek reviews both the Bode and Mittelstedt renderings, together with Bode’s translation of Stevenson’s continuation, in the second volume of the Anhang to Volumes I-XII.4 The critique of Bode’s work defines, largely in the words of the book itself, the peculiar purpose and method of the Journey, and comments briefly but with frank enthusiasm on the various touching incidents of the narrative: 56 “Nur ein von der Natur verwahrloseter bleibt dabei kalt und gleichgültig,” remarks the reviewer. The conception of Yorick’s personal character, which prevailed in Germany, obtained by a process of elimination and misunderstanding, is represented by this critic when he records without modifying his statement: “Various times Yorick shows himself as the most genuine foe of self-seeking, of immoral double entendre, and particularly of assumed seriousness, and he scourges them emphatically.” The review of the third and fourth parts contains a similar and perhaps even more significant passage illustrating the view of Yorick’s character held by those who did not know him and had the privilege of admiring him only in his writings and at a safe distance. “Yorick,” he says, “although he sometimes brings an event, so to speak, to the brink of an indecorous issue, manages to turn it at once with the greatest delicacy to a decorous termination. Or he leaves it incomplete under such circumstances that the reader is impressed by the rare delicacy of mind of the author, and can never suspect that such a man, who never allows a double entendre to enter his mind without a blush, has entertained an indecent idea.” This view is derived from a somewhat short-sighted reading of the Sentimental Journey: the obvious Sterne of Tristram Shandy, and the more insidiously concealed creator of the Journey could hardly be characterized discriminatingly by such a statement. Sterne’s cleverness consists not in suggesting his own innocence of imagination, but in the skill with which he assures his reader that he is master of the situation, and that no possible interpretation of the passage has escaped his intelligence. To the Mittelstedt translation is accorded in this review the distinction of being, in the rendering of certain passages, more correct than Bode’s. A reviewer in the Hallische Neue Gelehrte Zeitung5 treats of the Sentimental Journey in the Mittelstedt translation. He is evidently unfamiliar with the original and does not know of Bode’s work, yet his admiration is unbounded, though his critique is without distinction or discrimination. The Neue Critische Nachrichten6 57 of Greifswald gives a review of Bode’s rendering in which a parallel with Shakespeare is suggested. The original mingling of instruction and waggery is commented upon, imitation is discouraged, and the work is held up as a test, through appreciation or failure to appreciate, of a reader’s ability to follow another’s feelings, to understand far-away hints and allusions, to follow the tracks of an irregular and errant wit.

The Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent for October 29, 1768, regards the book in Bode’s translation as an individual, unparalleled work of genius and discourses at length upon its beneficent medicinal effects upon those whose minds and hearts are perplexed and clouded. The wanton passages are acknowledged, but the reviewer asserts that the author must be pardoned them for the sake of his generous and kind-hearted thoughts. The Mittelstedt translation is also quoted and parallel passages are adduced to demonstrate the superiority of Bode’s translation.

The Germans naturally learned to know the continuation of Eugenius chiefly through Bode’s translation, designated as the third and fourth volumes of the work, and thus because of the sanction of the intermediary, were led to regard Stevenson’s tasteless, tedious and revolting narrative with a larger measure of favor than would presumably have been accorded to the original, had it been circulated extensively in Germany. After years the Allgemeine Literatur Zeitung7 implies incidentally that Bode’s esteeming this continuation worthy of his attention is a fact to be taken into consideration in judging its merits, and states that Bode beautified it. Bode’s additions and alterations were, as has been pointed out, all directly along the line of the Yorick whom the Germans had made for themselves. It is interesting to observe that the reviewer of these two volumes of the continuation in the Neue Critische Nachrichten,8 while recognizing the inevitability of failure in such a bold attempt, and acknowledging that the outward form of the work may by its similarity be at first glance seductive, notes two passages of sentiment “worthy even of a Yorick,”—the 58 episode “Das Hündchen” and the anecdote of the sparrows which the traveler shot in the garden: both are additions on Bode’s part, and have no connection with the original. The reviewer thus singled out for especial approval two interpolations by the German translator, incidents which in their conception and narration have not the true English Yorick ring.

The success of the Sentimental Journey increased the interest in the incomprehensible Shandy. Lange’s new edition of Zückert’s translation has been noted, and before long Bode9 was induced to undertake a German rendering of the earlier and longer novel. This translation was finished in the summer of 1774, the preface being dated “End of August.” The foreword is mainly concerned with Goeze’s attack on Bode’s personal character, a thrust founded on Bode’s connection with the Sentimental Journey and its continuation. At the close of this introduction Bode says that, without undervaluing the intelligence of his readers, he had regarded notes as essential, but because of his esteem for the text, and a parental affection for the notes, he has foreborne to insert them here. “So they still lie in my desk, as many as there are of them, but upon pressing hints they might be washed and combed, and then be published under the title perhaps of a ‘Real und Verballexicon über Tristram Shandy’s Leben und Meinungen.’” This hint of a work of his own, serving as a commentary to Tristram Shandy, has been the occasion of some discussion. A reviewer in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek,10 in an account of Bode’s and Wichmann’s renderings of “Tom Jones,” begs Bode to fulfill the hopes thus raised, saying he could give Yorick’s friends no more valuable or treasured gift. Böttiger in his biographical sketch of Bode expressed regret that the work never saw the light, adding that the work contained so many allusions to contemporary celebrities and hits upon Bode’s acquaintance that wisdom had consigned to oblivion.11 A correspondent, writing to the Teutscher Merkur,12 minimizes the importance of 59 this so-called commentary, saying “er hatte nie einen Kommentar der Art, . . . auch nur angefangen auszuarbeiten. Die ganze Sache gründet sich auf eine scherzhafte Aeusserung gegen seinem damaligen Freund in Hamburg, welchen er oft mit der ihm eignen Ironie mit diesem Kommentar zu drohen pflegte.”

The list of subscribers to Bode’s translation contained upwards of 650 names, among which are Boie, Claudius, Einsieder, Gerstenberg, Gleim, Fräulein von Göchhausen, Goethe, Hamann, Herder, Hippel, Jacobi, Klopstock, Schummel, Wieland (five copies), and Zimmermann. The names of Ebert and Lessing are not on the list. The number of subscribers in Mitau (twelve) is worthy of note, as illustrating the interest in Sterne still keenly alive in this small and far away town, undoubtedly a direct result of the admiration so lavishly expressed in other years by Herder, Hamann and their circle.

The translation was hailed then as a masterly achievement of an arduous task, the difficulties of which are only the less appreciated because of the very excellence of the performance. It contrasts most strikingly with its clumsy predecessor in its approximation to Sterne’s deftness of touch, his delicate turns of phrase, his seemingly obvious and facile, but really delicate and accurate choice of expression. Zückert was heavy, commonplace, uncompromisingly literal and bristling with inaccuracies. Bode’s work was unfortunately not free from errors in spite of its general excellence, yet it brought the book within reach of those who were unable to read it in English, and preserved, in general with fidelity, the spirit of the original. The reviews were prodigal of praise. Wieland’s expressions of admiration were full-voiced and extensive.13

The Wandsbecker Bothe for October 28, 1774, asserts that many readers in England had not understood the book as well as Bode, a frequent expression of inordinate commendation; that Bode follows close on the heels of Yorick on his most intimate expeditions. The Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen14 copies in full the translation of the first chapter as both 60 Zückert and Bode rendered it, and praises the latter in unqualified terms; Bode appears as “Yorick’s rescuer.” Several years later, in the Deutsches Museum, the well-known French translation of Shandy by Frenais is denounced as intolerable (unerträglich) to a German who is acquainted with Bode’s,15 an opinion emphasized later in the same magazine16 by Joseph von Retzer. Indeed, upon these two translations from Sterne rests Bode’s reputation as a translator. His “Tom Jones” was openly criticised as bearing too much of Sterne,17 so great was the influence of Yorick upon the translator. Klamer Schmidt in a poem called “Klamersruh, eine ländlich malerische Dichtung,”18 dilating upon his favorite authors during a country winter, calls Bode “our Sterne” and “the ideal translator,” and in some verses by the same poet, quoted in the article on Bode in Schlichtegroll’s “Nekrolog,”19 is found a very significant stanza expressing Sterne’s immeasurable obligation to his German translator:

“Er geht zu dir nun, unser Bode!

Empfang ihn, Yoriks Geist! Auch dein

Erbarmt er sich,

Errettete vom Tode

Der Uebersetzer dich!”

Matthison in his “Gruss aus der Heimath,”20 pays similar tribute in a vision connected with a visit to Bode’s resting-place in Weimar. It is a fanciful relation: as Bode’s shade is received with jubilation and delight in the Elysian Fields by Cervantes, Rabelais, Montaigne, Fielding and Sterne, the latter censures Bode for distrusting his own creative power, indicating that he might have stood with the group just enumerated, that the fame of being “the most excellent transcriber” of his age should not have sufficed.

In view of all this marked esteem, it is rather surprising to 61 find a few years later a rather sweeping, if apologetic, attack on the rendering of Shandy. J. L. Benzler, the librarian of Graf Stolberg at Wernigerode, published in 1801 a translation of Shandy which bore the legend “Newly translated into German,” but was really a new edition of Bode’s work with various corrections and alterations.21 Benzler claims in his preface that there had been no translation of the masterpiece worthy of the original, and this was because the existing translation was from the pen of Bode, in whom one had grown to see the very ideal of a translator, and because praise had been so lavishly bestowed on the work by the critics. He then asserts that Bode never made a translation which did not teem with mistakes; he translated incorrectly through insufficient knowledge of English, confusing words which sound alike, made his author say precisely the opposite of what he really did say, was often content with the first best at hand, with the half-right, and often erred in taste;—a wholesale and vigorous charge. After such a disparagement, Benzler disclaims all intention to belittle Bode, or his service, but he condescendingly ascribes Bode’s failure to his lowly origin, his lack of systematic education, and of early association with the cultured world. Benzler takes Bode’s work as a foundation and rewrites. Some of his changes are distinctly advantageous, and that so few of these errors in Bode’s translation were noted by contemporary critics is a proof of their ignorance of the original, or their utter confidence in Bode.22 Benzler in his preface of justification enumerates several extraordinary blunders23 and then concludes with a rather inconsistent parting thrust at Bode, the perpetrator of such nonsense, at the critics who could overlook such errors and praise the work inordinately, and at the 62 public who ventured to speak with delight of the work, knowing it only in such a rendering. Benzler was severely taken to task in the Neue Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek24 for his shamelessness in rewriting Bode’s translation with such comparatively insignificant alterations, for printing on the title page in brazen effrontery “newly translated into German,” and for berating Bode for his failure after cursing him with condescension. Passages are cited to demonstrate the comparative triviality of Benzler’s work. A brief comparison of the two translations shows that Benzler often translates more correctly than his predecessor, but still more often makes meaningless alterations in word-order, or in trifling words where nothing is to be gained by such a change.

The same year Benzler issued a similar revision of the Sentimental Journey,25 printing again on the title page “newly translated into German.” The Neue Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek26 greets this attempt with a similar tart review, containing parallel quotations as before, proving Benzler’s inconsiderate presumption. Here Benzler had to face Bode’s assertion that both Lessing and Ebert had assisted in the work, and that the former had in his kindness gone through the whole book. Benzler treats this fact rather cavalierly and renews his attack on Bode’s rendering. Benzler resented this review and replied to it in a later number of the same periodical.27

Now that a century and more has elapsed, and personal acrimony can no longer play any part in criticism, one may justly admit Benzler’s service in calling attention to inaccurate and inadequate translation, at the same time one must condemn utterly his manner of issuing his emendations. In 1831 there appeared a translation of Tristram Shandy which was again but a revision of Bode’s work. It bore on the title page “Neu übertragen von W. H.,” and contained a sketch of Sterne’s life.28

In the nineties there seemed to be a renewal of Yorick 63 enthusiasm, and at this time was brought forth, at Halle in 1794, a profusely annotated edition of the Sentimental Journey,29 which was, according to the anonymous editor, a book not to be read, but to be studied. Claim is made that the real meaning of the book may be discovered only after several careful readings, that “empfindsam” in some measure was here used in the sense of philosophical, that the book should be treated as a work of philosophy, though clad in pleasing garb; that it should be thought out according to its merits, not merely read. Yorick’s failure to supply his chapters with any significant or alluring chapter-headings (probably the result of indolence on his part) is here interpreted as extraordinary sagacity, for he thereby lessens the expectations and heightens the effect. “Eine Empfindungs-reise” is declared to be a more suitable name than “Empfindsame Reise,” and comment is made upon the purpose of the Journey, the gathering of material for anatomical study of the human heart. The notes are numerous and lengthy, constituting a quarter to a third of the book, but are replete with padding, pointless babble and occasional puerile inaccuracies. They are largely attempts to explain and to moralize upon Yorick’s emotions,—a verbose, childish, witless commentary. The Wortregister contains fourteen pages in double columns of explanations, in general differing very little from the kind of information given in the notes. The Allgemeine Litteratur Zeitung30 devotes a long review chiefly to the explanation of the errors in this volume, not the least striking of which is the explanation of the reference to Smelfungus, whom everyone knows to have been Smollett: “This learned Smelfungus appears to have written nothing but the Journey which is here mentioned.”31 As an explanation of the initial “H” used by Sterne for Hume, the note is given, “The author ‘H’ was perhaps a poor one.”32

Sterne’s letters were issued first in London in 1775, a rather surprisingly long time after his death, when one considers how 64 great was Yorick’s following. According to the prefatory note of Lydia Sterne de Medalle in the collection which she edited and published, it was the wish of Mrs. Sterne that the correspondence of her husband, which was in her possession, be not given to the world, unless other letters bearing his name should be published. This hesitation on her part must be interpreted in such a way as to cast a favorable light on this much maligned gentlewoman, as a delicate reticence on her part, a desire to retain these personal documents for herself.33 The power of this sentiment must be measured by her refraining from publishing during the five years which intervened between her husband’s death and her own, March, 1768 to January, 1773—years which were embittered by the distress of straitened circumstances. It will be remembered that an effort was made by Mrs. Sterne and her daughter to retrieve their fortunes by a life of Sterne which was to be a collaboration by Stevenson and Wilkes, and urgent indeed was Lydia Sterne’s appeal to these friends of her father to fulfill their promises and lend their aid. Even when this hope had to be abandoned early in 1770, through the faithlessness of Sterne’s erstwhile companions, the widow and daughter turned to other possibilities rather than to the correspondence, though in the latter lay a more assured means of accomplishing a temporary revival of their prosperity. This is an evidence of fine feeling on the part of Sterne’s widow, with which she has never been duly credited.

But an anonymous editor published early in 177534 a volume entitled “Letters from Yorick to Eliza,” a brief little collection, the source of which has never been clear, but whose genuineness has never been questioned. The editor himself waives all claim to proof “which might be drawn concerning their authenticity from the character of the gentleman who had the perusal of them, and with Eliza’s permission, faithfully copied them at Bombay.”


In July of this same year35 was published a volume entitled “Sterne’s Letters to His Friends on Various Occasions, to which is added his History of a Watchcoat with Explanatory Notes,” containing twelve letters (one by Dr. Eustace) and the watchcoat story. Some of these letters had appeared previously in British magazines, and one, copied from the London Magazine, was translated in the Wandsbecker Bothe for April 16, 1774.36 A translation of the same letter was given in the Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitungen, 1774, pp. 286–7. Three of these letters only are accepted by Prof. Saintsbury (Nos. 7, 124, the letter of Dr. Eustace, and 125). Of the others, Nos. 4–11 have been judged as of doubtful authenticity. Two of them, Nos. 11 and 12 (“I beheld her tender look” and “I feel the weight of obligation”) are in the standard ten-volume edition of Sterne,37 but the last letter is probably spurious also.

The publication of the letters from Yorick to Eliza was the justification afforded Lydia Sterne de Medalle for issuing her father’s correspondence according to her mother’s request: the other volume was not issued till after it was known that Sterne’s daughter was engaged in the task of collecting and editing his correspondence. Indeed, the editor expressly states in his preface that it is not the purpose of the book to forestall Mme. Medalle’s promised collection; that the letters in this volume are not to be printed in hers.38 Mme. Medalle added to her collection the “Fragment in the manner of Rabelais” and the invaluable, characteristic scrap of autobiography, which was written particularly for “my Lydia.” The work 66 appeared at Becket’s in three volumes, and the dedication to Garrick was dated June, 1775; but, as the notice in the Monthly Review for October39 asserts that they have “been published but a few days,” this date probably represents the time of the completion of the task, or the inception of the printer’s work.40 During the same year the spurious letters from Eliza to Yorick were issued.

Naturally Sterne’s letters found readers in Germany, the Yorick-Eliza correspondence being especially calculated to awaken response.41 The English edition of the “Letters from Yorick to Eliza” was reviewed in the Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften,42 with a hint that the warmth of the letters might easily lead to a suspicion of unseemly relationship, but the reviewer contends that virtue and rectitude are preserved in the midst of such extraordinary tenderness, so that one may interpret it as a Platonic rather than a sensual affection. Yet this review cannot be designated as distinctive of German opinion, for it contains no opinion not directly to be derived from the editor’s foreword, and that alone; indeed, the wording suggests decidedly that source. The Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitung43 for April 15, 1775, reviews the same English edition, but the notice consists of an introductory statement of Eliza’s identity and translation of parts of three letters, the “Lord Bathurst letter,” the letter involving the criticism of Eliza’s portraits,44 and the last letter to Eliza. The translation is very weak, abounding in elementary errors; for example, “She has got your picture and likes it” becomes “Sie hat Ihr Bildniss gemacht, es ist ähnlich,” and “I beheld you . . . as a very plain woman” is rendered “und hielt Sie für nichts anders 67 als eine Frau.” The same journal,45 August 5, reviews the second collection of Sterne’s letters, but there is no criticism, merely an introductory statement taken from the preface, and the translation of two letters, the one to Mistress V., “Of two bad cassocs, fair lady,” and the epistle beginning, “I snatch half an hour while my dinner is getting ready.” The Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1776, p. 382, also gives in a review information concerning this anonymous collection, but no criticism.

One would naturally look to Hamburg for translations of these epistles. In the very year of their appearance in England we find “Yorick’s Briefe an Eliza,” Hamburg, bey C. E. Bohn, 1775;46 “Briefe von Eliza an Yorick,” Hamburg, bey Bode, 1775; and “Briefe von (Yorick) Sterne an seine Freunde nebst seiner Geschichte eines Ueberrocks,” Hamburg, bey Bohn, 1775. The translator’s name is not given, but there is every reason to suppose that it was the faithful Bode, though only the first volume is mentioned in Jördens’ account of him, and under his name in Goedeke’s “Grundriss.” Contemporary reviewers attributed all three books to Bode, and internal evidence goes to prove it.47

The first volume contains no translator’s preface, and the second, the spurious Eliza letters, only a brief footnote to the translation of the English preface. In this note Bode’s identity is evident in the following quotation: He says he has translated the letters “because I believe that they will be read with pleasure, and because I fancy I have a kind of vocation to give in German everything that Sterne has written, or whatever has immediate relation to his writings.” This note is dated Hamburg, September 16, 1775. In the third volume, the miscellaneous collection, there is a translator’s preface in which again Bode’s hand is evident. He says he knows by sure experience that Sterne’s writings find readers in Germany; he is assured of the authenticity of the letters, but is in doubt whether the reader is possessed of sufficient knowledge of the 68 attending circumstances to render intelligible the allusion of the watchcoat story. To forfend the possibility of such dubious appreciation, the account of the watchcoat episode is copied word for word from Bode’s introduction to the “Empfindsame Reise.”48

In this same year, an unknown translator issued in a single volume a rendering of these three collections.49 The following year Mme. Medalle’s collection was brought out in Leipzig in an anonymous translation, which has been attributed to Christian Felix Weisse.50 Its title was “Lorenz Sterne’s Briefe an seine vertrautesten Freunde nebst einem Fragment im Geschmack des Rabelais und einer von ihm selbst verfassten Nachricht von seinem Leben und seiner Familie, herausgegeben von seiner Tochter Mad. Medalle,” Leipzig, 1776, pp. xxviii, 391. Weidmanns Erben und Reich.

Bode’s translation of Yorick’s letters to Eliza is reviewed in the Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitung, August 9, 1775, with quotation of the second letter in full. The same journal notes the translation of the miscellaneous collection, November 4, 1775, giving in full the letter of Dr. Eustace and Sterne’s reply.51 The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek52 reviews together the three Hamburg volumes (Bode) and the Leipzig volume containing the same letters. The utter innocence, the unquestionably Platonic character of the relations between Yorick and Eliza is accepted fully. With keen, critical judgment the reviewer is inclined to doubt the originality of the Eliza letters. Two letters by Yorick are mentioned particularly, letters which bear testimony to Yorick’s practical benevolence: one describing his efforts in behalf of a dishonored maiden, and one concerning the old man who fell into financial difficulties.53 Both the translations 69 win approval, but Bode’s is preferred; they are designated as doubtless his. The “Briefe an Elisa” (Bode’s translation) are noticed in the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen, October 3 and 6, 1775, with unrestrained praise of the translator, and vigorous asseveration of their authenticity. It is recognized fully that the relation as disclosed was extraordinary among married people, even Sterne’s amazing statement concerning the fragile obstacles which stood in the way of their desires is noted. Yet the Yorick of these letters is accorded undisguised admiration. His love is exalted above that of Swift for Stella, Waller for Sacharissa, Scarron for Maintenon,54 and his godly fear as here exhibited is cited to offset the outspoken avowal of dishonoring desire.55 Hamann in a letter to Herder, June 26, 1780, speaks of the Yorick-Eliza correspondence quite disparagingly.56

In 1787 another volume of Sterne letters was issued in London, giving English and German on opposite pages.57 There are but six letters and all are probably spurious.

In 1780 there was published a volume of confessedly spurious letters entitled “Briefe von Yorick und Elisen, wie sie zwischen ihnen konnten geschrieben werden.”58 The introduction contains some interesting information for the determination of the genuineness of the Sterne letters.59 The editor states that the author had written these letters purely as a diversion, that the editor had proposed their publication, but was always met with refusal until there appeared in London a little volume of letters which their editor emphatically declared to be genuine. This is evidently the volume published by the anonymous editor in 1775, and our present editor declares that 70 he knows Nos. 4–10 were from the same pen as the present confessedly spurious collection. They were mere efforts originally, but, published in provincial papers, found their way into other journals, and the editor goes on to say, that, to his astonishment, he saw one of these epistles included in Lydia Medalle’s collection. This is, of course, No. 5, the one beginning, “The first time I have dipped my pen in the ink-horn.” These events induced the author to allow the publication. The book itself consists mostly of a kind of diary kept by Yorick to send to Eliza at Madeira and later to India, and a corresponding journal written by Eliza on the vessel and at Madeira.

Yorick’s sermons were inevitably less potent in their appeal, and the editions and translations were less numerous. In spite of obvious effort, Sterne was unable to infuse into his homiletical discourses any considerable measure of genuine Shandeism, and his sermons were never as widely popular as his two novels, either among those who sought him for whimsical pastime or for sentimental emotion. They were sermons. The early Swiss translation has been duly noted.

The third volume of the Zürich edition, which appeared in 1769, contained the “Reden an Esel,” which the reviewer in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek60 with acute penetration designates as spurious. Another translation of these sermons was published at Leipzig, according to the editor of a later edition61 (Thorn, 1795), in the same year as the Zürich issue, 1769.

The Berlinische Monatsschrift62 calls attention to the excellence of the work and quotes the sermons at considerable length. The comment contains the erroneous statement that Sterne was a dissenter, and opposed to the established church. The translation published at Thorn in 1795, evidently building on this information, continues the error, and, in explanation of English church affairs, adds as enlightenment the thirty-nine articles. This translation is confessedly a working-over of the Leipzig translation already mentioned. It is difficult to discover 71 how these sermons ever became attached to Sterne’s name, and one can hardly explain the fact that such a magazine as the Berlinische Monatsschrift63 should at that late date publish an article so flatly contradictory to everything for which Sterne stood, so diametrically opposed to his career, save with the understanding that gross ignorance attended the original introduction and early imitation of Yorick, and that this incomprehension, or one-sided appreciation of the real Sterne persisted in succeeding decades. The German Yorick was the champion of the oppressed and downtrodden. The author of the “Sermons to Asses” appeared as such an opponent of coercion and arbitrary power in church and state, an upholder of human rights; hence, possibly, the authorship of this book was attributed to Sterne by something the same process as that which, in the age of heroic deeds, associated a miscellaneous collection of performances with a popular hero. The “Sermons to Asses” were written by Rev. James Murray (1732–1782), a noted dissenting minister, long pastor of High Bridge Chapel in Newcastle-on-Tyne. They were published in London in 1768 and dedicated to G. W., J. W., W. R. and M. M.—George Whitfield, John Wesley, William Romaine and Martin Madan. The English people are represented as burden-bearing asses laden with oppression in the shape of taxes and creeds.64 They are directed against the power of the established church. It is needless to state that England never associated these sermons with Sterne.65 The English edition was also briefly reviewed in the Hamburgische Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten66 without connecting the work with Sterne. 72 The error was made later, possibly by the translator of the Zürich edition.

The new collection of Sterne’s sermons published by Cadell in 1769, Vols. V, VI, VII, is reviewed by Unterhaltungen.67 A selection from Sterne’s sermon on the Prodigal Son was published in translation in the Hamburgische Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten for April 13, 1768. The new collection of sermons was translated by A. E. Klausing and published at Leipzig in 1770, containing eighteen sermons.68

Both during Sterne’s life and after his death books were published claiming him as their author. In England contemporary criticism generally stigmatized these impertinent attempts as dubious, or undoubtedly fraudulent. The spurious ninth volume of Shandy has been mentioned.69 The “Sermons to Asses” just mentioned also belong here, and, with reservation, also Stevenson’s continuation of the Sentimental Journey, with its claim to recognition through the continuator’s statement of his relation to Yorick. There remain also a few other books which need to be mentioned because they were translated into German and played their part there in shaping the German idea of Yorick. In general, it may be said that German criticism was never acute in judging these products, partially perhaps because they were viewed through the medium of an imperfectly mastered foreign tongue, a mediocre or an adapted translation. These books obtained relatively a much more extensive recognition in Germany than in England.

In 1769 a curious conglomerate was brought over and issued under the lengthy descriptive title: “Yoricks Betrachtungen über verschiedene wichtige und angenehme Gegenstände. Nemlich über Nichts, Ueber Etwas, Ueber das Ding, Ueber die Regierung, Ueber den Toback, Ueber die Nasen, Ueber die Quaksalber, Ueber die Hebammen, Ueber den Homunculus, Ueber die Steckenpferde, Ueber das Momusglas, Ueber die Ausschweifungen, Ueber die Dunkelkeit im Schreiben, Ueber 73 den Unsinn, Ueber die Verbindung der Ideen, Ueber die Hahnreiter, Ueber den Mann in dem Monde, Ueber Leibnitzens Monaden, Ueber das was man Vertu nennt, Ueber das Gewissen, Ueber die Trunkenheit, Ueber den Nachtstuhl, Betrachtungen über Betrachtungen.—neque—cum lectulus, aut me Porticus excepit, desum mihi, Horat.” Frankfurt und Leipzig, 1769, 8o. The book purported to be a collection of Sterne’s earliest lucubrations, and the translator expresses his astonishment that no one had ever translated them before, although they were first issued in 1760. It is without doubt the translation of an English volume entitled “Yorick’s Meditations upon interesting and important subjects,” published by Stevens in London, 1760.70 It had been forgotten in England long before some German chanced upon it. The preface closes with a long doggerel rhyme, which, the translator says, he has purposely left untranslated. It is, however, beyond the shadow of a doubt original with him, as its contents prove. Yorick in the Elysian Fields is supposed to address himself, he “anticipates his fate and perceives beforehand that at least one German critic would deem him worthy of his applause.”

“Go on, poor Yorik, try once more

In German Dress, thy fate of yore,

Expect few Critics, such, as by

The bucket of Philosophy

From out the bottom of the well

May draw the Sense of what you tell

And spy what wit and Morals sound

Are in thy Rambles to be found.”

After a passage in which the rhymester enlarges upon the probability of distorted judgment, he closes with these lines:

“Dire Fate! but for all that no worse,

You shall be WIELAND’S Hobby-Horse,

So to HIS candid Name, unbrib’d

These meditations be inscrib’d.”

This was at the time of Wieland’s early enthusiasm, when he was probably contemplating, if not actually engaged upon a translation of Tristram Shandy. “Thy fate of yore” in the 74 second line is evidently a poetaster’s acceptation of an obvious rhyme and does not set Yorick’s German experience appreciably into the past. The translator supplies frequent footnotes explaining the allusions to things specifically English. He makes occasional comparison with German conditions, always with the claim that Germany is better off, and needs no such satire. The Hallische Neue Gelehrte Zeitungen for June 1, 1769, devotes a review of considerable length to this translation; in it the reviewer asserts that one would have recognized the father of this creation even if Yorick’s name had not stood on its forehead; that it closely resembles its fellows even if one must place it a degree below the Journey. The Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek71 throws no direct suspicion on the authenticity, but with customary insight and sanity of criticism finds in this early work “a great deal that is insipid and affected.” The Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften, however, in a review which shows a keen appreciation of Sterne’s style, openly avows an inclination to question the authenticity, save for the express statement of the translator; the latter it agrees to trust.72 The book is placed far below the Sentimental Journey, below Shandy also, but far above the artificial tone of many other writers then popular. This relative ordering of Sterne’s works is characteristic of German criticism. In the latter part of the review its author seizes on a mannerism, the exaggerated use of which emphatically sunders the book from the genuine Sterne, the monotonous repetition of the critic’s protests and Yorick’s verbal conflicts with them. Sterne himself used this device frequently, but guardedly, and in ever-changing variety. Its careless use betrays the mediocre imitator.73

The more famous Koran was also brought to German territory and enjoyed there a recognition entirely beyond that accorded it in England. This book was first given to the world in London as the “Posthumous Works of a late celebrated 75 Genius deceased;”74 a work in three parts, bearing the further title, “The Koran, or the Life, Character and Sentiments of Tria Juncta in Uno, M. N. A., Master of No Arts.” Richard Griffith was probably the real author, but it was included in the first collected edition of Sterne’s works, published in Dublin, 1779.75 The work purports to be, in part, an autobiography of Sterne, in which the late writer lays bare the secrets of his life, his early debauchery, his father’s unworthiness, his profligate uncle, the ecclesiastic, and the beginning of his literary career by advertising for hack work in London, being in all a confused mass of impossible detail, loose notes and disconnected opinion, which contemporary English reviews stigmatize as manifestly spurious, “an infamous attempt to palm the united effusions of dullness and indecency upon the world as the genuine production of the late Mr. Sterne.”76

In France the book was accepted as genuine and it was translated (1853) by Alfred Hédouin as an authentic work of Sterne. In Germany, too, it seems to have been recognized with little questioning as to its genuineness; even in recent years Robert Springer, in an article treating of Goethe’s relation to the Koran, quite openly contends for its authenticity.77


Since a German translation appeared in the following year (1771), the German reviews do not, in the main, concern themselves with the English original. The Neues Bremisches Magazin,78 however, censures the book quite severely, but the Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften79 welcomes it with unquestioning praise. The German rendering was by Johann Gottfried Gellius, and the title was “Yorick’s Nachgelassene Werke.”80 The Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften81 does acknowledge the doubtful authorship but accepts completely its Yorick tone and whim—“one cannot tell the copyist from the original.” Various characteristics are cited as common to this work and Yorick’s other writings, the contrast, change, confusion, conflict with the critics and the talk about himself. For the collection of aphorisms, sayings, fragments and maxims which form the second part of the Koran, including the “Memorabilia,” the reviewer suggests the name “Sterniana.” The reviewer acknowledges the occasional failure in attempted thrusts of wit, the ineffective satire, the immoral innuendo in some passages, but after the first word of doubt the review passes on into a tone of seemingly complete acceptation.

In 1778 another translation of this book appeared, which has been ascribed to Bode, though not given by Goedeke, Jördens or Meusel. Its title was “Der Koran, oder Leben und Meynungen des Tria Juncta in Uno.”82 The Almanach der deutschen Musen83 treats this work with full measure of praise. The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek84 accepts the book in this translation as a genuine product of Sterne’s genius. Sammer reprinted the “Koran” (Vienna, 1795, 12o) and included it in 77 his nine volume edition of Sterne’s complete works (Vienna, 1798).

Goethe’s connection with the “Koran,” which forms the most interesting phase of its German career, will be treated later.

Sterne’s unacknowledged borrowings, his high-handed and extensive appropriation of work not his own, were noted in Germany, the natural result of Ferriar’s investigations in England, but they seem never to have attracted any considerable attention or aroused any serious concern among Sterne’s admirers so as to imperil his position: the question in England attached itself as an ungrateful but unavoidable concomitant of every discussion of Sterne and every attempt to determine his place in letters. Böttiger tells us that Lessing possessed a copy of Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy,” from which Sterne filched so much wisdom, and that Lessing had marked in it several of the passages which Ferriar later advanced as proof of Sterne’s theft. It seems that Bode purchased this volume at Lessing’s auction in Hamburg. Lessing evidently thought it not worth while to mention these discoveries, as he is entirely silent on the subject. Böttiger is, in his account, most unwarrantedly severe on Ferriar, whom he calls “the bilious Englishman” who attacked Sterne “with so much bitterness.” This is very far from a veracious conception of Ferriar’s attitude.

The comparative indifference in Germany to this phase of Sterne’s literary career may well be attributed to the medium by which Ferriar’s findings were communicated to cultured Germany. The book itself, or the original Manchester society papers, seem never to have been reprinted or translated, and Germany learned their contents through a résumé written by Friedrich Nicolai and published in the Berlinische Monatsschrift for February, 1795, which gives a very sane view of the subject, one in the main distinctly favorable to Sterne. Nicolai says Sterne is called with justice “One of the most refined, ingenious and humorous authors of our time.” He asserts with capable judgment that Sterne’s use of the borrowed passages, the additions and alterations, the individual tone which he manages to infuse into them, all preclude Sterne from being 78 set down as a brainless copyist. Nicolai’s attitude may be best illustrated by the following passages:

“Germany has authors enough who resemble Sterne in lack of learning. Would that they had a hundredth part of the merits by which he made up for this lack, or rather which resulted from it.” “We would gladly allow our writers to take their material from old books, and even many expressions and turns of style, and indeed whole passages, even if like Sterne . . . . they claimed it all as their own: only they must be successful adapters; they must add from their own store of observation and thought and feeling. The creator of Tristram Shandy does this in rich measure.”

Nicolai also contends that Sterne was gifted with two characteristic qualities which were not imitation,—his “Empfindsamkeit” and “Laune”—and that by the former his works breathe a tender, delicate beneficence, a character of noble humanity, while by the latter a spirit of fairest mirth is spread over his pages, so that one may never open them without a pleasant smile. “The investigation of sources,” he says, “serves as explanation and does not mean depreciation of an otherwise estimable author.”

By this article Nicolai choked the malicious criticism of the late favorite which might have followed from some sources, had another communicated the facts of Sterne’s thievery. Lichtenberg in the “Göttingischer Taschenkalender,” 1796, that is, after the publication of Nicolai’s article, but with reference to Ferriar’s essay in the Manchester Memoirs, Vol. IV, under the title of “Gelehrte Diebstähle” does impugn Sterne rather spitefully without any acknowledgment of his extraordinary and extenuating use of his borrowings. “Yorick,” he says, “once plucked a nettle which had grown upon Lorenzo’s grave; that was no labor for him. Who will uproot this plant which Ferriar has set on his?” Ferriar’s book was reviewed by the Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften, LXII, p. 310.

Some of the English imitations of Sterne, which did not actually claim him as author, also found their way to Germany, and there by a less discriminating public were joined in a general 79 way to the mass of Yorick production, and the might of Yorick influence. These works represent almost exclusively the Sterne of the Sentimental Journey; for the shoal of petty imitations, explanations and protests which appeared in England when Shandy was first issued85 had gone their own petty way to oblivion before Germany awakened to Sterne’s influence.

One of the best known of the English Sentimental Journeys was the work of Samuel Paterson, entitled, “Another Traveller: or Cursory Remarks and Critical Observations made upon a Journey through Part of the Netherlands,—by Coriat Junior,” London, 1768, two volumes. The author protested in a pamphlet published a little later that his work was not an imitation of Sterne, that it was in the press before Yorick’s book appeared; but a reviewer86 calls his attention to the sentimental journeying already published in Shandy. This work was translated into German as “Empfindsame Reisen durch einen Theil der Niederlande,” Bützow, 1774–1775, 2 Parts, 8o. The translator was Karl Friedrich Müchler, who showed his bent in the direction of wit and whim by the publication of several collections of humorous anecdotes, witty ideas and satirical skits.87

Much later a similar product was published, entitled “Launige 80 Reise durch Holland in Yoricks88 Manier, mit Charakterskizzen und Anekdoten über die Sitten und Gebräuche der Holländer aus dem Englischen,” two volumes, Zittau und Leipzig, 1795. The translation was by Reichel in Zittau.88 This may possibly be Ireland’s “A Picturesque Tour through Holland, Brabant and part of France, made in 1789,” two volumes, London, 1790.89 The well-known “Peter Pennyless” was reproduced as “Empfindsame Gedanken bey verschiedenen Vorfällen von Peter Pennyless,” Leipzig, Weidmann, 1770.

In 1788 there appeared in England a continuation of the Sentimental Journey90 in which, to judge from the reviewers, the petty author outdid Sterne in eccentricities of typography, breaks, dashes, scantily filled and blank pages. This is evidently the original of “Die neue empfindsame Reise in Yoriks Geschmack,” Leipzig, 1789, 8o, pp. 168, which, according to the Allgemeine Litteratur-Zeitung bristles with such extravagances.91

A much more successful attempt was the “Sentimental Journey, Intended as a Sequel to Mr. Sterne’s, Through Italy, Switzerland and France, by Mr. Shandy,” two volumes, 12o, 1793. This was evidently the original of Schink’s work;92 “Empfindsame Reisen durch Italien, die Schweiz und Frankreich, ein Nachtrag zu den Yorikschen. Aus und nach dem Englischen,” Hamburg, Hoffmann, 1794, pp. 272, 8o. The translator’s preface, which is dated Hamburg, March 1794, explains his attitude toward the work as suggested in the expression “Aus und nach dem Englischen,” that is, “aus, so lange wie Treue für den Leser Gewinn schien und nach, wenn Abweichung für die deutsche Darstellung notwendig war.” He claims to have softened the glaring colors of the original and to have discarded, or altered the obscene pictures. The author, as 81 described in the preface, is an illegitimate son of Yorick, named Shandy, who writes the narrative as his father would have written it, if he had lived. This assumed authorship proves quite satisfactorily its connection with the English original, as there, too, in the preface, the narrator is designated as a base-born son of Yorick. The book is, as a whole, a fairly successful imitation of Yorick’s manner, and it must be judged as decidedly superior to Stevenson’s attempt. The author takes up the story where Sterne left it, in the tavern room with the Piedmontese lady; and the narrative which follows is replete with allusions to familiar episodes and sentiments in the real Journey, with sentimental adventures and opportunities for kindly deeds, and sympathetic tears; motifs used originally are introduced here, a begging priest with a snuff-box, a confusion with the Yorick in Hamlet, a poor girl with wandering mind seated by the wayside, and others equally familiar.

It is not possible to determine the extent of Schink’s alterations to suit German taste, but one could easily believe that the somewhat lengthy descriptions of external nature, quite foreign to Sterne, were original with him, and that the episode of the young German lady by the lake of Geneva, with her fevered admiration for Yorick, and the compliments to the German nation and the praise for great Germans, Luther, Leibnitz and Frederick the Great, are to be ascribed to the same source. He did not rid the book of revolting features, as one might suppose from his preface.93 Previous to the publication of the whole translation, Schink published in the February number of the Deutsche Monatsschrift94 two sections of his book, “Die Schöne Obstverkäuferin” and “Elisa.” Later, in the May number, he published three other fragments, “Turin, Hotel del Ponto,” “Die Verlegenheit,” “Die Unterredung.”95

A few years later Schink published another and very similar volume with the title, “Launen, Phantasieen und Schilderungen 82 aus dem Tagebuche eines reisenden Engländers,”96 Arnstadt und Rudolstadt, 1801, pp. 323. It has not been possible to find an English original, but the translator makes claim upon one, though confessing alterations to suit his German readers, and there is sufficient internal evidence to point to a real English source. The traveler is a haggard, pale-faced English clergyman, who, with his French servant, La Pierre, has wandered in France and Italy and is now bound for Margate. Here again we have sentimental episodes, one with a fair lady in a post-chaise, another with a monk in a Trappist cloister, apostrophes to the imagination, the sea, and nature, a new division of travelers, a debate of personal attributes, constant appeals to his dear Sophie, who is, like Eliza, ever in the background, occasional references to objects made familiar through Yorick, as Dessein’s Hotel, and a Yorick-like sympathy with the dumb beast; in short, an open imitation of Sterne, but the motifs from Sterne are here more mixed and less obvious. There is, as in the former book, much more enthusiasm for nature than is characteristic of Sterne; and there is here much more miscellaneous material, such, for example, as the tale of the two sisters, which betrays no trace of Sterne’s influence. The latter part of the volume is much less reminiscent of Yorick and suggests interpolation by the translator.97

Near the close of the century was published “Fragments in the manner of Sterne,” 8o, Debrett, 1797, which, according to the Monthly Review,98 caught in large measure the sentimentality, pathos and whimsicality of Sterne’s style. The British Museum catalogue suggests J. Brandon as its author. This was reprinted by Nauck in Leipzig in 1800, and a translation was given to the world by the same publisher in the same year, with the added title: “Ein Seitenstück zu Yoricks empfindsamen Reisen.” The translation is attributed by Kayser to 83 Aug. Wilhelmi, the pseudonym of August Wilhelm Meyer.99 Here too belongs “Mariens Briefe nebst Nachricht von ihrem Tode, aus dem Englischen,”100 which was published also under the title: “Yoricks Empfindsame Reisen durch Frankreich und Italien,” 5th vol., 8o, Weissenfels, Severin, Mitzky in Leipzig, 1795.

1. VI, 1, p. 166. 1768.

2. XII, 1, p. 142.

3. August 28, 1769. P. 574.

4. Pp. 896–9.

5. III, pp. 689–91, October 31, 1768.

6. V, No. 5, p. 37, 1769, review is signed “Z.”

7. 1794, IV, p. 62, October 7.

8. Greifswald, VI, p. 300.

9. See p. 42.

10. Anhang LIII-LXXXVI. Vol. V, pp. 2611–2614.

11. This is repeated by Jördens.

12. 1799. I, p. 36.

13. Teut. Merkur, VIII, pp. 247–251.

14. April 21, 1775, pp. 267–70.

15. Hirsching (see above) says it rivals the original.

16. The references to the Deutsches Museum are respectively IX, pp. 273–284, April, 1780, and X, pp. 553–5.

17. See Jördens I, p. 117, probably depending on the critique in the Allg. deutsche Bibl. Anhang, LIII-LXXXVI, Vol. V, pp. 2611–2614.

18. Erholungen III, pp. 1–51.

19. Supplementband für 1790–93, p. 410.

20. Werke, Zürich, 1825–29, pp. 312 ff.

21. “Tristram Shandy’s Leben und Meynungen von neuem verdeutscht, Leipzig, 1801, I, pp. 572; II, pp. 532; III, pp. 430. Mit 3 Kupfern und 3 Vignetten nach Chodowiecki von J. F. Schröter.” A new edition appeared at Hahn’s in Hanover in 1810. This translation is not given by Goedeke under Benzler’s name.

22. Wieland does modify his enthusiasm by acknowledgment of inadequacies and devotes about a page of his long review to the correction of seven incorrect renderings. Teut. Merkur, VIII, pp. 247–51, 1774, IV.

23. The following may serve as examples of Bode’s errors. He translated, “Pray, what was your father saying?” (I, 6) by “Was wollte denn Ihr Vater damit sagen?” a rendering obviously inadequate. “It was a little hard on her” (I, p. 52) becomes in Bode, “Welches sie nun freilich schwer ablegen konnte;” and “Great wits jump” (I, 168) is translated “grosse Meister fehlen auch.”

24. LXXIII, pp. 75–81.

25. Leipzig, 1801, 8o, I, 168; II, 170. 2 Kupf. und 2 Vignetten nach Chodowiecki von G. Böttiger.

26. LXXIX, pp. 371–377.

27. LXXXII, I, p. 199.

28. Magdeburg, I, pp. 188; II, pp. 192; III, pp. 154; IV, pp. 168; V, pp. 236.

29. A Sentimental Journey, mit erläuternden Anmerkungen und einem Wortregister.

30. Jena, 1795, II, pp. 427–30.

31. P. 49.

32. The edition is also reviewed in the Erfurtische Gelehrte Zeitung (1796, p. 294.)

33. The threat of Mrs. Sterne and her daughter to publish the letters to Mrs. Draper would seem to be at variance with this idea of Mrs. Sterne’s character, but her resentment or indignation, and a personal satisfaction at her former rival’s discomfiture are inevitable, and femininely human.

34. They are reviewed in the April number of the Monthly Review (LII, pp. 370–371), and in the April number of the London Magazine (XLIV, pp. 200–201).

35. It is noted among the publications in the July number of the London Magazine, XLIV, p. 371, and is reviewed in the September number of the Monthly Review, LIII, pp. 266–267. It was really published on July 12. (The Nation, November 17, 1904.)

36. The letter beginning “The first time I have dipped my pen in the ink-horn,” addressed to Mrs. M-d-s and dated Coxwould, July 21, 1765. The London Magazine (1775, pp. 530–531) also published the eleventh letter of the series, that concerning the unfortunate Harriet: “I beheld her tender look.”

37. Dodsley, etc., 1793.

38. Two letters, however, were given in both volumes, the letter to Mrs. M-d-s, “The first time I have dipped,” etc., and that to Garrick, “’Twas for all the world like a cut,” etc., being in the Mme. Medalle collection, Nos. 58 and 77 (II, pp. 126–131, 188–192) and in the anonymous collection Nos. 1 and 5. The first of these two letters was without indication of addressee in the anonymous collection, and was later directed to Eugenius (in the American edition, Harrisburg, 1805).

39. LIII, pp. 340–344. The publication was October 25. See The Nation, November 17, 1904.

40. The London Magazine gives the first announcement among the books for October (Vol. XLVI, p. 538), but does not review the collection till December (XLIV, p. 649).

41. Some selections from these letters were evidently published before their translation in the Englische Allgemeine Bibliothek. See Frankfurter Gel. Anz., 1775, p. 667.

42. XVIII, p. 177, 1775.

43. 1775, I, pp. 243–246.

44. Letters Nos. 83 and 86.

45. 1775, II p. 510.

46. This volume was noted by Jenaische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen, September, 4, 1775.

47. A writer in Schlichtegroll’s “Nekrolog” says that Bode’s own letters to “einige seiner vertrauten Freundinnen” in some respects surpass those of Yorick to Eliza.

48. Another translator would in this case have made direct acknowledgment to Bode for the borrowed information, a fact indicating Bode as the translator of the volume.

49. “Lorenz Sterne’s oder Yorick’s Briefwechsel mit Elisen und seinen übrigen Freunden.” Leipzig, Weidmanns Erben und Reich. 1775, 8o.

50. Weisse is credited with the translation in Kayser, but it is not given under his name in Goedeke.

51. References to the Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitung are p. 518 and p. 721, 1775.

52. XXVIII, 2, p. 489, 1776.

53. These are, of course, the spurious letters Nos. 8 and 11, “I beheld her tender look” and “I have not been a furlong from Shandy-Hall.”

54. This is a quotation from one of the letters, but the review repeats it as its own.

55. For a rather unfavorable criticism of the Yorick-Eliza letters, see letter of Wilh. Ludw. Medicus to Höpfner, March 16, 1776, in “Briefe aus dem Freundeskreise von Goethe, Herder, Höpfner und Merck,” ed. by K. Wagner, Leipzig, 1847.

56. Hamann’s Schriften, ed. by Roth, VI, p. 145: “Yorick’s und Elisens Briefe sind nicht der Rede werth.”

57. London, Thomas Cornan, St. Paul’s Churchyard, 8o, pp. 63. These letters are given in the first American edition, Harrisburg, 1805, pp. 209–218 and 222–226.

58. Leipzig, Weidmanns Erben und Reich, I, pp. 142; II, pp. 150.

59. The English original is probably that by William Combe, published in 1779, two volumes. This original is reviewed in the Neue Bibl. der schönen Wissenschaften, XXIV, p. 186, 1780.

60. XII, 1, pp. 210–211. Doubt is also suggested in the Hallische Neue Gelehrte Zeitungen, 1769, IV, p. 295.

61. Reviewed in Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1798, II, p. 14, without suggestion of doubtful authenticity.

62. XX, pp. 79–103, 1792.

63. They are still credited to Sterne, though with admitted doubt, in Hirsching (1809). It would seem from a letter of Hamann’s that Germany also thrust another work upon Sterne. The letter is directed to Herder: “Ich habe die nichtswürdige Grille gehabt einen unförmlichen Auszug einer englischen Apologie des Rousseau, die den Sterne zum Verfasser haben soll, in die Königsberger Zeitung einflicken zu lassen.” See Hamann’s Schriften, Roth’s edition, III, p. 374. Letter is dated July 29, 1767. Rousseau is mentioned in Shandy, III, p. 200, but there is no reason to believe that he ever wrote anything about him.

64. The edition examined is that of William Howe, London, 1819, which contains “New Sermons to Asses,” and other sermons by Murray.

65. For reviews see Monthly Review, 1768, Vol. XXXIX, pp. 100–105; Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. XXXVIII, p. 188 (April). They were thus evidently published early in the year 1768.

66. 1768, p. 220.

67. VII, p. 360.

68. Review in Allg. deutsche Bibl., XIII, 1, p. 241. The reviewer is inclined to doubt their authenticity.

69. A spurious third volume was the work of John Carr (1760).

70. See Monthly Review, XXIII, p. 84, July 1760, and London Magazine, Monthly Catalogue for July and August, 1760. Scott’s Magazine, XXII, p. 389, July, 1760.

71. XIV, 2, p. 621.

72. But in a later review in the same periodical (V, p. 726) this book, though not mentioned by name, yet clearly meant, is mentioned with very decided expression of doubt. The review quoted above is III, p. 737. 1769.

73. This work was republished in Braunschweig at the Schulbuchhandlung in 1789.

74. According to the Universal Magazine (XLVI, p. 111) the book was issued in February, 1770. It was published in two volumes.

75. Sidney Lee in Nat’l Dict. of Biography. It was also given in the eighth volume of the Edinburgh edition of Sterne, 1803.

76. See London Magazine, June, 1770, VI, p. 319; also Monthly Review, XLII, pp. 360–363, May, 1770. The author of this latter critique further proves the fraudulence by asserting that allusion is made in the book to “facts and circumstances which did not happen until Yorick was dead.”

77. It is obviously not the place here for a full discussion of this question. Hédouin in the appendix of his “Life of Goethe” (pp. 291 ff) urges the claims of the book and resents Fitzgerald’s rather scornful characterization of the French critics who received the work as Sterne’s (see Life of Sterne, 1864, II, p. 429). Hédouin refers to Jules Janin (“Essai sur la vie et les ouvrages de Sterne”) and Balzac (“Physiologie du mariage,” Meditation xvii,) as citing from the work as genuine. Barbey d’Aurevilly is, however, noted as contending in la Patrie against the authenticity. This is probably the article to be found in his collection of Essays, “XIX Siècle, Les oeuvres et les hommes,” Paris, 1890, pp. 73–93. Fitzgerald mentions Chasles among French critics who accept the book. Springer is incorrect in his assertion that the Koran appeared seven years after Sterne’s death, but he is probably building on the incorrect statement in the Quarterly Review (XCIV, pp. 303 ff). Springer also asserts erroneously that it was never published in Sterne’s collected works. He is evidently disposed to make a case for the Koran and finds really his chief proof in the fact that both Goethe and Jean Paul accepted it unquestioningly. Bodmer quotes Sterne from the Koran in a letter to Denis, April 4, 1771, “M. Denis Lit. Nachlass,” ed. by Retzer, Wien, 1801, II, p. 120, and other German authors have in a similar way made quotations from this work, without questioning its authenticity.

78. III, p. 537, 1771.

79. X, p. 173.

80. Leipzig, Schwickert, 1771, pp. 326, 8o.

81. V, p. 726.

82. Hamburg, Herold, 1778, pp. 248, 12o.

83. 1779, p. 67.

84. Anhang to XXV-XXXVI, Vol. II, p. 768.

85. As products of the year 1760, one may note:

Tristram Shandy at Ranelagh, 8o, Dunstan.

Tristram Shandy in a Reverie, 8o, Williams.

Explanatory Remarks upon the Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, by Jeremiah Kunastrokins, 12o, Cabe.

A Genuine Letter from a Methodist Preacher in the Country to Laurence Sterne, 8o, Vandenberg.

A Shandean essay on Human Passions, etc., by Caleb MacWhim, 4o, Cooke.

Yorick’s Meditations upon Interesting and Important Subjects.

The Life and Opinions of Miss Sukey Shandy, Stevens.

The Clockmaker’s Outcry Against Tristram Shandy, Burd.

The Rake of Taste, or the Elegant Debauchee (another ape of the Shandean style, according to London Magazine).

A Supplement to the Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy, by the author of Yorick’s Meditations, 12o.

86. Monthly Review, XL, p. 166.

87. “Der Reisegefährte,” Berlin, 1785–86. “Komus oder der Freund des Scherzes und der Laune,” Berlin, 1806. “Museum des Witzes der Laune und der Satyre,” Berlin, 1810. For reviews of Coriat in German periodicals see Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitungen, 1774, p. 378; Leipziger Musen-Almanach, 1776, p. 85; Almanach der Deutschen Musen, 1775, p. 84; Unterhaltungen, VII, p. 167.

88. See Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1796, I, p. 256.

89. The identity could be proven or disproven by comparison. There is a copy of the German work in the Leipzig University Library. Ireland’s book is in the British Museum.

90. See the English Review, XIII, p. 69, 1789, and the Monthly Review, LXXIX, p. 468, 1788.

91. Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1791, I, p. 197. A sample of the author’s absurdity is given there in quotation.

92. Joh. Friedrich Schink, better known as a dramatist.

93. See the story of the gentlewoman from Thionville, p. 250, and elsewhere.

94. The references to the Deutsche Monatsschrift are respectively, I, pp. 181–188, and II, pp. 65–71.

95. For review of Schink’s book see Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1794, IV, p. 62, October 7. Böttiger seems to think that Schink’s work is but another working over of Stevenson’s continuation.

96. It is not given by Goedeke or Meusel, but is given among Schink’s works in “Neuer Nekrolog der Deutschen,” Weimar, 1835–1837, XIII, pp. 161–165.

97. In both these books the English author may perhaps be responsible for some of the deviation from Sterne’s style.

98. CV, p. 271.

99. Kayser notes another translation, “Fragmente in Yorick’s Manier, aus dem Eng., mit Kpf., 8o.” London, 1800. It is possibly identical with the one noted above. A second edition of the original came out in 1798.

100. The original of this was published by Kearsley in London, 1790, 12o, a teary contribution to the story of Maria of Moulines.



Thus in manifold ways Sterne was introduced into German life and letters.1 He stood as a figure of benignant humanity, of lavish sympathy with every earthly affliction, he became a guide and mentor,2 an awakener and consoler, and probably more than all, a sanction for emotional expression. Not only in literature, but in the conduct of life was Yorick judged a preceptor. The most important attempt to turn Yorick’s teachings to practical service in modifying conduct in human relationships was the introduction and use of the so-called “Lorenzodosen.” The considerable popularity of this remarkable conceit is tangible evidence of Sterne’s influence in Germany and stands in striking contrast to the wavering enthusiasm, vigorous denunciation and half-hearted acknowledgment 85 which marked Sterne’s career in England. A century of criticism has disallowed Sterne’s claim as a prophet, but unquestionably he received in Germany the honors which a foreign land proverbially accords.

To Johann Georg Jacobi, the author of the “Winterreise” and “Sommerreise,” two well-known imitations of Sterne, the sentimental world was indebted for this practical manner of expressing adherence to a sentimental creed.3 In the Hamburgischer Correspondent he published an open letter to Gleim, dated April 4, 1769, about the time of the inception of the “Winterreise,” in which letter he relates at considerable length the origin of the idea.4 A few days before this the author was reading to his brother, Fritz Jacobi, the philosopher, novelist and friend of Goethe, and a number of ladies, from Sterne’s Sentimental Journey the story of the poor Franciscan who begged alms of Yorick. “We read,” says Jacobi, “how Yorick used this snuff-box to invoke its former possessor’s gentle, patient spirit, and to keep his own composed in the midst of life’s conflicts. The good Monk had died: Yorick sat by his grave, took out the little snuff-box, plucked a few nettles from the head of the grave, and wept. We looked at one another in 86 silence: each rejoiced to find tears in the others’ eyes; we honored the death of the venerable old man Lorenzo and the good-hearted Englishman. In our opinion, too, the Franciscan deserved more to be canonized than all the saints of the calendar. Gentleness, contentedness with the world, patience invincible, pardon for the errors of mankind, these are the primary virtues he teaches his disciples.” The moment was too precious not to be emphasized by something rememberable, perceptible to the senses, and they all purchased for themselves horn snuff-boxes, and had the words “Pater Lorenzo” written in golden letters on the outside of the cover and “Yorick” within. Oath was taken for the sake of Saint Lorenzo to give something to every Franciscan who might ask of them, and further: “If anyone in our company should allow himself to be carried away by anger, his friend holds out to him the snuff-box, and we have too much feeling to withstand this reminder even in the greatest violence of passion.” It is suggested also that the ladies, who use no tobacco, should at least have such a snuff-box on their night-stands, because to them belong in such a high degree those gentle feelings which were to be associated with the article.

This letter printed in the Hamburg paper was to explain the snuff-box, which Jacobi had sent to Gleim a few days before, and the desire is also expressed to spread the order. Hence others were sent to other friends. Jacobi goes on to say: “Perhaps in the future, I may have the pleasure of meeting a stranger here and there who will hand me the horn snuff-box with its golden letters. I shall embrace him as intimately as one Free Mason does another after the sign has been given. Oh! what a joy it would be to me, if I could introduce so precious a custom among my fellow-townsmen.” A reviewer in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek5 sharply condemns Jacobi for his conceit in printing publicly a letter meant for his friend or friends, and, to judge from the words with which Jacobi accompanies the abridged form of the letter in the later editions it would seem that Jacobi himself was later ashamed of the whole affair. The idea, however, was warmly received, 87 and among the teary, sentimental enthusiasts the horn snuff-box soon became the fad. A few days after the publication of this letter, Wittenberg,6 the journalist in Hamburg, writes to Jacobi (April 21) that many in Hamburg desire to possess these snuff-boxes, and he adds: “A hundred or so are now being manufactured; besides the name Lorenzo, the following legend is to appear on the cover: Animae quales non candidiores terra tulit.” Wittenberg explains that this Latin motto was a suggestion of his own, selfishly made, for thereby he might win the opportunity of explaining it to the fair ladies, and exacting kisses for the service. Wittenberg asserts that a lady (Longo guesses a certain Johanna Friederike Behrens) was the first to suggest the manufacture of the article at Hamburg. A second letter7 from Wittenberg to Jacobi four months later (August 21, 1769) announces the sending of nine snuff-boxes to Jacobi, and the price is given as one-half a reichsthaler. Jacobi himself says in his note to the later edition that merchants made a speculation out of the fad, and that a multitude of such boxes were sent out through all Germany, even to Denmark and Livonia: “they were in every hand,” he says. Graf Solms had such boxes made of tin with the name Jacobi inside. Both Martin and Werner instance the request8 of a Protestant vicar, Johann David Goll in Trossingen, for a “Lorenzodose” with the promise to subscribe to the oath of the order, and, though Protestant, to name the Catholic Franciscan his brother. According to a spicy review9 in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek10 these snuff-boxes were sold in Hamburg wrapped in a printed copy of Jacobi’s letter to Gleim, and the reviewer adds, like Grenough’s tooth-tincture in the directions 88 for its use.”11 Nicolai in “Sebaldus Nothanker” refers to the Lorenzo cult with evident ridicule.12

There were other efforts to make Yorick’s example an efficient power of beneficent brotherliness. Kaufmann attempted to found a Lorenzo order of the horn snuff-box. Düntzer, in his study of Kaufmann,13 states that this was only an effort on Kaufmann’s part to embrace a timely opportunity to make himself prominent. This endeavor was made according to Düntzer, during Kaufmann’s residence in Strassburg, which the investigator assigns to the years 1774–75. Leuchsenring,14 the eccentric sentimentalist, who for a time belonged to the Darmstadt circle and whom Goethe satirized in “Pater Brey,” cherished also for a time the idea of founding an order of “Empfindsamkeit.” 

In the literary remains of Johann Christ Hofmann15 in Coburg was found the “patent” of an order of “Sanftmuth und Versöhnung.” A “Lorenzodose” was found with it marked XXVIII, and the seven rules of the order, dated Coburg “im Ordens-Comtoir, den 10 August, 1769,” are merely a topical enlargement and ordering of Jacobi’s original idea. Longo 89 gives them in full. Appell states that Jacobi explained through a friend that he knew nothing of this order and had no share in its founding. Longo complains that Appell does not give the source of his information, but Jacobi in his note to the so-called “Stiftungs-Brief” in the edition of 1807 quotes the article in Schlichtegroll’s “Nekrolog” as his only knowledge of this order, certainly implying his previous ignorance of its existence.

Somewhat akin to these attempts to incorporate Yorick’s ideas is the fantastic laying out of the park at Marienwerder near Hanover, of which Matthison writes in his “Vaterländische Besuche,”16 and in a letter to the Hofrath von Köpken in Magdeburg,17 dated October 17, 1785. After a sympathetic description of the secluded park, he tells how labyrinthine paths lead to an eminence “where the unprepared stranger is surprised by the sight of a cemetery. On the crosses there one reads beloved names from Yorick’s Journey and Tristram Shandy. Father Lorenzo, Eliza, Maria of Moulines, Corporal Trim, Uncle Toby and Yorick were gathered by a poetic fancy to this graveyard.” The letter gives a similar description and adds the epitaph on Trim’s monument, “Weed his grave clean, ye men of goodness, for he was your brother,”18 a quotation, which in its fuller form, Matthison uses in a letter19 to Bonstetten, Heidelberg, February 7, 1794, in speaking of Böck the actor. It is impossible to determine whose eccentric and tasteless enthusiasm is represented by this mortuary arrangement.

Louise von Ziegler, known in the Darmstadt circle as Lila, whom Merck admired and, according to Caroline Flaschsland, “almost compared with Yorick’s Maria,” was so sentimental that she had her grave made in her garden, evidently for purposes of contemplation, and she led a lamb about which ate and drank with her. Upon the death of this animal, “a faithful dog” took its place. Thus was Maria of Moulines remembered.20


It has already been noted that Yorick’s sympathy for the brute creation found cordial response in Germany, such regard being accepted as a part of his message. That the spread of such sentimental notions was not confined to the printed word, but passed over into actual regulation of conduct is admirably illustrated by an anecdote related in Wieland’s Teutscher Merkur in the January number for 1776, by a correspondent who signs himself “S.” A friend was visiting him; they went to walk, and the narrator having his gun with him shot with it two young doves. His friend is exercised. “What have the doves done to you?” he queries. “Nothing,” is the reply, “but they will taste good to you.” “But they were alive,” interposed the friend, “and would have caressed (geschnäbelt) one another,” and later he refuses to partake of the doves. Connection with Yorick is established by the narrator himself: “If my friend had not read Yorick’s story about the sparrow, he would have had no rule of conduct here about shooting doves, and my doves would have tasted better to him.” The influence of Yorick was, however, quite possibly indirect through Jacobi as intermediary; for the latter describes a sentimental family who refused to allow their doves to be killed. The author of this letter, however, refers directly to Yorick, to the very similar episode of the sparrows narrated in the continuation of the Sentimental Journey, but an adventure original with the German Bode. This is probably the source of Jacobi’s narrative.

The other side of Yorick’s character, less comprehensible, less capable of translation into tangibilities, was not disregarded. His humor and whimsicality, though much less potent, were yet influential. Ramler said in a letter to Gebler dated November 14, 1775, that everyone wished to jest like Sterne,21 and the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen (October 31, 1775), at almost precisely the same time, discourses at some length on the then prevailing epidemic of whimsicality, showing that shallowness beheld in the then existing interest in 91 humor a justification for all sorts of eccentric behavior and inconsistent wilfulness.

Naturally Sterne’s influence in the world of letters may be traced most obviously in the slavish imitation of his style, his sentiment, his whims,—this phase represented in general by now forgotten triflers; but it also enters into the thought of the great minds in the fatherland and becomes interwoven with their culture. Their own expressions of indebtedness are here often available in assigning a measure of relationship. And finally along certain general lines the German Yorick exercised an influence over the way men thought and wanted to think.

The direct imitations of Sterne are very numerous, a crowd of followers, a motley procession of would-be Yoricks, set out on one expedition or another. Musäus22 in a review of certain sentimental meanderings in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek,23 remarked that the increase of such journeyings threatened to bring about a new epoch in the taste of the time. He adds that the good Yorick presumably never anticipated becoming the founder of a fashionable sect. This was in 1773. Other expressions of alarm or disapprobation might be cited.

Through Sterne’s influence the account of travels became more personal, less purely topographical, more volatile and merry, more subjective.24 Goethe in a passage in the “Campagne in Frankreich,” to which reference is made later, acknowledges this impulse as derived from Yorick. Its presence was felt even when there was no outward effort at sentimental journeying. The suggestion that the record of a journey 92 was personal and tinged with humor was essential to its popularity. It was probably purely an effort to make use of this appeal which led the author of “Bemerkungen eines Reisenden durch Deutschland, Frankreich, England und Holland,”25 a work of purely practical observation, to place upon his title-page the alluring lines from Gay: “Life is a jest and all things shew it. I thought so once, but now I know it;” a promise of humorous attitude which does not find fulfilment in the heavy volumes of purely objective description which follow.

Probably the first German book to bear the name Yorick in its title was a short satirical sketch entitled, “Yorick und die Bibliothek der elenden Scribenten, an Hrn.—” 1768, 8o (Anspach),26 which is linked to the quite disgustingly scurrilous Antikriticus controversy.

Attempts at whimsicality, imitations also of the Shandean gallery of originals appear, and the more particularly Shandean style of narration is adopted in the novels of the period which deal with middle-class domestic life. Of books directly inspired by Sterne, or following more or less slavishly his guidance, a considerable proportion has undoubtedly been consigned to merited oblivion. In many cases it is possible to determine from contemporary reviews the nature of the individual product, and the probable extent of indebtedness to the British model. If it were possible to find and examine them all with a view to establishing extent of relationship, the identity of motifs, the borrowing of thought and sentiment, such a work would give us little more than we learn from consideration of representative examples. In the following chapter the attempt will be made to treat a number of typical products. Baker in his article on Sterne in Germany adopts the rather hazardous expedient of judging merely by title and taking from Goedeke’s “Grundriss,” works which suggests a dependence on Sterne.27


The early relation of several great men of letters to Sterne has been already treated in connection with the gradual awakening of Germany to the new force. Wieland was one of Sterne’s most ardent admirers, one of his most intelligent interpreters; but since his relationship to Sterne has been made the theme of special study,28 there will be needed here but a brief recapitulation with some additional comment. Especially in the productions of the years 1768–1774 are the direct allusions to Sterne and his works numerous, the adaptations of motifs frequent, and imitation of literary style unmistakable. Behmer finds no demonstrable evidence of Sterne’s influence in Wieland’s work prior to two poems of the year 1768, “Endymions Traum” and “Chloe;” but in the works of the years immediately following there is abundant evidence both in style and in subject matter, in the fund of allusion and illustration, to establish the author’s indebtedness to Sterne. Behmer analyzes from this standpoint the following works: “Beiträge zur geheimen Geschichte des menschlichen Verstandes und Herzens;” “Sokrates Mainomenos oder die Dialogen 94 des Diogenes von Sinope;” “Der neue Amadis;” “Der goldene Spiegel;” “Geschichte des Philosophen Danischmende;” “Gedanken über eine alte Aufschrift;” “Geschichte der Abderiten.”29

In these works, but in different measure in each, Behmer finds Sterne copied stylistically, in the constant conversations about the worth of the book, the comparative value of the different chapters and the difficulty of managing the material, in the fashion of inconsequence in unexplained beginnings and abrupt endings, in the heaping up of words of similar meaning, or similar ending, and in the frequent digressions. Sterne also is held responsible for the manner of introducing the immorally suggestive, for the introduction of learned quotations and references to authorities, for the sport made of the learned professions and the satire upon all kinds of pedantry and overwrought enthusiasm. Though the direct, demonstrable influence of Sterne upon Wieland’s literary activity dies out gradually30 and naturally, with the growth of his own genius, his admiration for the English favorite abides with him, passing on into succeeding periods of his development, as his former enthusiasm for Richardson failed to do.31 More than twenty years later, when more sober days had stilled the first unbridled outburst of sentimentalism, Wieland speaks yet of Sterne in terms of unaltered devotion: in an article published in the Merkur,32 Sterne is called among all authors the one “from whom I would last part,”33 and the subject of the article itself is an indication of his concern for the fate of Yorick among his fellow-countrymen. It is in the form of an epistle to Herr . . . . zu D., and is a vigorous protest against heedless imitation of Sterne, representing chiefly the perils of such endeavor and the bathos of the failure. Wieland includes in 95 the letter some “specimen passages from a novel in the style of Tristram Shandy,” which he asserts were sent him by the author. The quotations are almost flat burlesque in their impossible idiocy, and one can easily appreciate Wieland’s despairing cry with which the article ends.

A few words of comment upon Behmer’s work will be in place. He accepts as genuine the two added volumes of the Sentimental Journey and the Koran, though he admits that the former were published by a friend, not “without additions of his own,” and he uses these volumes directly at least in one instance in establishing his parallels, the rescue of the naked woman from the fire in the third volume of the Journey, and the similar rescue from the waters in the “Nachlass des Diogenes.”34 That Sterne had any connection with these volumes is improbable, and the Koran is surely a pure fabrication. Behmer seeks in a few words to deny the reproach cast upon Sterne that he had no understanding of the beauties of nature, but Behmer is certainly claiming too much when he speaks of the “Farbenprächtige Schilderungen der ihm ungewohnten sonnenverklärten Landschaft,” which Sterne gives us “repeatedly” in the Sentimental Journey, and he finds his most secure evidence for Yorick’s “genuine and pure” feeling for nature in the oft-quoted passage beginning, “I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba and cry ‘’Tis all barren.’” It would surely be difficult to find these repeated instances, for, in the whole work, Sterne gives absolutely no description of natural scenery beyond the most casual, incidental reference: the familiar passage is also misinterpreted, it betrays no appreciation of inanimate nature in itself, and is but a cry in condemnation of those who fail to find exercise for their sympathetic emotions. Sterne mentions the “sweet myrtle” and “melancholy cypress,”35 not as indicative of his own affection for nature, but as exemplifying his own exceeding personal need of expenditure of human sympathy, as indeed the 96 very limit to which sensibility can go, when the desert denies possibility of human intercourse. Sterne’s attitude is much better illustrated at the beginning of the “Road to Versailles”: “As there was nothing in this road, or rather nothing which I look for in traveling, I cannot fill up the blank better than with a short history of this self-same bird.” In other words, he met no possibility for exercising the emotions. Behmer’s statement with reference to Sterne, “that his authorship proceeds anyway from a parody of Richardson,” is surely not demonstrable, nor that “this whole fashion of composition is indeed but ridicule of Richardson.” Richardson’s star had paled perceptibly before Sterne began to write, and the period of his immense popularity lies nearly twenty years before. There is not the slightest reason to suppose that his works have any connection whatsoever with Richardson’s novels. One is tempted to think that Behmer confuses Sterne with Fielding, whose career as a novelist did begin as a parodist of the vain little printer. That the “Starling” in the Sentimental Journey, which is passed on from hand to hand, and the burden of government which wanders similarly in “Der Goldene Spiegel” constitute a parallelism, as Behmer suggests (p. 48), seems rather far-fetched. It could also be hardly demonstrated that what Behmer calls “die Sternische Einführungsweise”36 (p. 54), as used in the “Geschichte der Abderiten,” is peculiar to Sterne or even characteristic of him. Behmer (p. 19) seems to be ignorant of any reprints or translations of the Koran, the letters and the sermons, save those coming from Switzerland.

Bauer’s study of the Sterne-Wieland relation is much briefer (thirty-five pages) and much less satisfactory because less thorough, yet it contains some few valuable individual points and cited parallelisms. Bauer errs in stating that Shandy appeared 1759–67 in York, implying that the whole work was issued there. He gives the dates of Sterne’s first visit to Paris, also incorrectly, as 1760–62.

Finally, Wieland cannot be classed among the slavish 97 imitators of Yorick; he is too independent a thinker, too insistent a pedagogue to allow himself to be led more than outwardly by the foreign model. He has something of his own to say and is genuinely serious in a large portion of his own philosophic speculations: hence, his connection with Sterne, being largely stylistic and illustrative, may be designated as a drapery of foreign humor about his own seriousness of theorizing. Wieland’s Hellenic tendencies make the use of British humor all the more incongruous.37

Herder’s early acquaintance with Sterne has been already treated. Subsequent writings offer also occasional indication of an abiding admiration. Soon after his arrival in Paris he wrote to Hartknoch praising Sterne’s characterization of the French people.38 The fifth “Wäldchen,” which is concerned with the laughable, contains reference to Sterne.39

With Lessing the case is similar: a striking statement of personal regard has been recorded, but Lessing’s literary work of the following years does not betray a significant influence from Yorick. To be sure, allusion is made to Sterne a few times in letters40 and elsewhere, but no direct manifestation of devotion is discoverable. The compelling consciousness of his own message, his vigorous interest in deeper problems of religion and philosophy, the then increasing worth of native German literature, may well have overshadowed the influence of the volatile Briton.

Goethe’s expressions of admiration for Sterne and indebtedness to him are familiar. Near the end of his life (December 16, 1828), when the poet was interested in observing the history and sources of his own culture, and was intent upon recording 98 his own experience for the edification and clarification of the people, he says in conversation with Eckermann: “I am infinitely indebted to Shakespeare, Sterne and Goldsmith.”41 And a year later in a letter to Zelter,42 (Weimar, December 25, 1829), “The influence Goldsmith and Sterne exercised upon me, just at the chief point of my development, cannot be estimated. This high, benevolent irony, this just and comprehensive way of viewing things, this gentleness to all opposition, this equanimity under every change, and whatever else all the kindred virtues may be termed—such things were a most admirable training for me, and surely, these are the sentiments which in the end lead us back from all the mistaken paths of life.”

In the same conversation with Eckermann from which the first quotation is made, Goethe seems to defy the investigator who would endeavor to define his indebtedness to Sterne, its nature and its measure. The occasion was an attempt on the part of certain writers to determine the authorship of certain distichs printed in both Schiller’s and Goethe’s works. Upon a remark of Eckermann’s that this effort to hunt down a man’s originality and to trace sources is very common in the literary world, Goethe says: “Das ist sehr lächerlich, man könnte ebenso gut einen wohlgenährten Mann nach den Ochsen, Schafen und Schweinen fragen, die er gegessen und die ihm Kräfte gegeben.” An investigation such as Goethe seems to warn us against here would be one of tremendous difficulty, a theme for a separate work. It is purposed here to gather only information with reference to Goethe’s expressed or implied attitude toward Sterne, his opinion of the British master, and to note certain connections between Goethe’s work and that of Sterne, connections which are obvious or have been already a matter of comment and discussion.


In Strassburg under Herder’s43 guidance, Goethe seems first to have read the works of Sterne. His life in Frankfurt during the interval between his two periods of university residence was not of a nature calculated to increase his acquaintance with current literature, and his studies did not lead to interest in literary novelty. This is his own statement in “Dichtung und Wahrheit.”44 That Herder’s enthusiasm for Sterne was generous has already been shown by letters written in the few years previous to his sojourn in Strassburg. Letters written to Merck45 (Strassburg, 1770–1771) would seem to show that then too Sterne still stood high in his esteem. Whatever the exact time of Goethe’s first acquaintance with Sterne, we know that he recommended the British writer to Jung-Stilling for the latter’s cultivation in letters.46 Less than a year after Goethe’s departure from Strassburg, we find him reading aloud to the Darmstadt circle the story of poor Le Fevre from Tristram Shandy. This is reported in a letter, dated May 8, 1772, by Caroline Flachsland, Herder’s fiancée.47 It is not evident whether they read Sterne in the original or in the translation of Zückert, the only one then available, unless possibly the reader gave a translation as he read. Later in the same letter, Caroline mentions the “Empfindsame Reisen,” possibly meaning Bode’s translation. She also records reading Shakespeare in Wieland’s rendering, but as she speaks later still of peeping into the English books which Herder had sent Merck, it is a hazardous thing to reason from her mastery of English at that time to the use of original or translation on the occasion of Goethe’s reading.

Contemporary criticism saw in the Martin of “Götz von Berlichingen” a likeness to Sterne’s creations;48 and in the other 100 great work of the pre-Weimarian period, in “Werther,” though no direct influence rewards one’s search, one must acknowledge the presence of a mental and emotional state to which Sterne was a contributor. Indeed Goethe himself suggests this relationship. Speaking of “Werther” in the “Campagne in Frankreich,”49 he observes in a well-known passage that Werther did not cause the disease, only exposed it, and that Yorick shared in preparing the ground-work of sentimentalism on which “Werther” is built.

According to the quarto edition of 1837, the first series of letters from Switzerland dates from 1775, although they were not published till 1808, in the eleventh volume of the edition begun in 1806. Scherer, in his “History of German Literature,” asserts that these letters are written in imitation of Sterne, but it is difficult to see the occasion for such a statement. The letters are, in spite of all haziness concerning the time of their origin and Goethe’s exact purpose regarding them,50 a “fragment of Werther’s travels” and are confessedly cast in a sentimental tone, which one might easily attribute to a Werther, in whom hyperesthesia has not yet developed to delirium, an earlier Werther. Yorick’s whim and sentiment are quite wanting, and the sensuousness, especially as pertains to corporeal beauty, is distinctly Goethean.

Goethe’s accounts of his own travels are quite free from the Sterne flavor; in fact he distinctly says that through the influence of the Sentimental Journey all records of journeys had been mostly given up to the feelings and opinions of the traveler, but that he, after his Italian journey, had endeavored to keep himself objective.51

Dr. Robert Riemann in his study of Goethe’s novels,52 calls Friedrich in “Wilhelm Meister’s Lehrjahre” a representative of Sterne’s humor, and he finds in Mittler in the “Wahlverwandtschaften” a union of seriousness and the comic of caricature, 101 reminiscent of Sterne and Hippel. Friedrich is mercurial, petulant, utterly irresponsible, a creature of mirth and laughter, subject to unreasoning fits of passion. One might, in thinking of another character in fiction, designate Friedrich as faun-like. In all of this one can, however, find little if any demonstrable likeness to Sterne or Sterne’s creations. It is rather difficult also to see wherein the character of Mittler is reminiscent of Sterne. Mittler is introduced with the obvious purpose of representing certain opinions and of aiding the development of the story by his insistence upon them. He represents a brusque, practical kind of benevolence, and his eccentricity lies only in the extraordinary occupation which he has chosen for himself. Riemann also traces to Sterne, Fielding and their German followers, Goethe’s occasional use of the direct appeal to the reader. Doubtless Sterne’s example here was a force in extending this rhetorical convention.

It is claimed by Goebel53 that Goethe’s “Homunculus,” suggested to the master partly by reading of Paracelsus and partly by Sterne’s mediation, is in some characteristics of his being dependent directly on Sterne’s creation. In a meeting of the “Gesellschaft für deutsche Litteratur,” November, 1896, Brandl expressed the opinion that Maria of Moulines was a prototype of Mignon in “Wilhelm Meister.”54

The references to Sterne in Goethe’s works, in his letters and conversations, are fairly numerous in the aggregate, but not especially striking relatively. In the conversations with Eckermann there are several other allusions besides those already mentioned. Goethe calls Eckermann a second Shandy for suffering illness without calling a physician, even as Walter Shandy failed to attend to the squeaking door-hinge.55 Eckermann himself draws on Sterne for illustrations in Yorick’s description of Paris,56 and on January 24, 1830, at a time when we know that Goethe was re-reading Sterne, Eckermann refers 102 to Yorick’s (?) doctrine of the reasonable use of grief.57 That Goethe near the end of his life turned again to Sterne’s masterpiece is proved by a letter to Zelter, October 5, 1830;58 he adds here too that his admiration has increased with the years, speaking particularly of Sterne’s gay arraignment of pedantry and philistinism. But a few days before this, October 1, 1830, in a conversation reported by Riemer,59 he expresses the same opinion and adds that Sterne was the first to raise himself and us from pedantry and philistinism. By these remarks Goethe commits himself in at least one respect to a favorable view of Sterne’s influence on German letters. A few other minor allusions to Sterne may be of interest. In an article in the Horen (1795, VStück,) entitled “Literarischer Sansculottismus,” Goethe mentions Smelfungus as a type of growler.60 In the “Wanderjahre”61 there is a reference to Yorick’s classification of travelers. Düntzer, in Schnorr’s Archiv,62 explains a passage in a letter of Goethe’s to Johanna Fahlmer (August, 1775), “die Verworrenheiten des Diego und Juliens” as an allusion to the “Intricacies of Diego and Julia” in Slawkenbergius’s tale,63 and to the traveler’s conversation with his beast. In a letter to Frau von Stein64 five years later (September 18, 1780) Goethe used this same expression, and the editor of the letters avails himself of Düntzer’s explanation. Düntzer further explains the word θεοδοκος, used in Goethe’s Tagebuch with reference to the Duke, in connection with the term θεοδιδακτος applied to Walter Shandy. The word is, 103 however, somewhat illegible in the manuscript. It was printed thus in the edition of the Tagebuch published by Robert Keil, but when Düntzer himself, nine years after the article in the Archiv, published an edition of the Tagebücher he accepted a reading θεοτατος,65 meaning, as he says, “ein voller Gott,” thereby tacitly retracting his former theory of connection with Sterne.

The best known relationship between Goethe and Sterne is in connection with the so-called plagiarisms in the appendix to the third volume of the “Wanderjahre.” Here, in the second edition, were printed under the title “Aus Makariens Archiv” various maxims and sentiments. Among these were a number of sayings, reflections, axioms, which were later discovered to have been taken bodily from the second part of the Koran, the best known Sterne-forgery. Alfred Hédouin, in “Le Monde Maçonnique” (1863), in an article “Goethe plagiaire de Sterne,” first located the quotations.66

Mention has already been made of the account of Robert Springer, which is probably the last published essay on the subject. It is entitled “Ist Goethe ein Plagiarius Lorenz Sternes?” and is found in the volume “Essays zur Kritik und Philosophie und zur Goethe-Litteratur.”67 Springer cites at some length the liberal opinions of Molière, La Bruyère, Wieland, Heine and others concerning the literary appropriation of another’s thought. He then proceeds to quote Goethe’s equally generous views on the subject, and adds the uncritical fling that if Goethe robbed Sterne, it was an honor to Sterne, a gain to his literary fame. Near the end of his paper, Springer arrives at the question in hand and states positively that these maxims, with their miscellaneous companions, were never published by Goethe, but were found by the editors of his literary remains among his miscellaneous papers, and then issued in the 104 ninth volume of the posthumous works. Hédouin had suggested this possible explanation. Springer adds that the editors were unaware of the source of this material and supposed it to be original with Goethe.

The facts of the case are, however, as follows: “Wilhelm Meister’s Wanderjahre” was published first in 1821.68 In 1829, a new and revised edition was issued in the “Ausgabe letzter Hand.” Eckermann in his conversations with Goethe69 relates the circumstances under which the appendices were added to the earlier work. When the book was in press, the publisher discovered that of the three volumes planned, the last two were going to be too thin, and begged for more material to fill out their scantiness. In this perplexity Goethe brought to Eckermann two packets of miscellaneous notes to be edited and added to those two slender volumes. In this way arose the collection of sayings, scraps and quotations “Im Sinne der Wanderer” and “Aus Makariens Archiv.” It was later agreed that Eckermann, when Goethe’s literary remains should be published, should place the matter elsewhere, ordered into logical divisions of thought. All of the sentences here under special consideration were published in the twenty-third volume of the “Ausgabe letzter Hand,” which is dated 1830,70 and are to be found there, on pages 271–275 and 278–281. They are reprinted in the identical order in the ninth volume of the “Nachgelassene Werke,” which also bore the title, Vol. XLIX of “Ausgabe letzter Hand,” there found on pages 121–125 and 127–131. Evidently Springer found them here in the posthumous works, and did not look for them in the previous volume, which was published two years or thereabouts before Goethe’s death.

Of the sentiments, sentences and quotations dealing with Sterne, there are twenty which are translations from the Koran, in Loeper’s edition of “Sprüche in Prosa,”71 Nos. 491–507 and 543–544; seventeen others (Nos. 490, 508–509, 521–533, 105 535) contain direct appreciative criticism of Sterne; No. 538 is a comment upon a Latin quotation in the Koran and No. 545 is a translation of another quotation in the same work. No. 532 gives a quotation from Sterne, “Ich habe mein Elend nicht wie ein weiser Mann benutzt,” which Loeper says he has been unable to find in any of Sterne’s works. It is, however, in a letter72 to John Hall Stevenson, written probably in August, 1761. The translation here is inexact. Loeper did not succeed in finding Nos. 534, 536, 537, although their position indicates that they were quotations from Sterne, but No. 534 is in a letter to Garrick from Paris, March 19, 1762. The German translation however conveys a different impression from the original English. The other two are not located; in spite of their position, the way in which the book was put together would certainly allow for the possibility of extraneous material creeping in. At their first appearance in the “Ausgabe letzter Hand,” five Sprüche, Nos. 491, 543, 534, 536, 537, were supplied with quotation marks, though the source was not indicated. Thus it is seen that the most of the quotations were published as original during Goethe’s lifetime, but he probably never considered it of sufficient consequence to disavow their authorship in public. It is quite possible that the way in which they were forced into “Wilhelm Meister” was distasteful to him afterwards, and he did not care to call attention to them.

Goethe’s opinion of Sterne as expressed in the sentiments which accompany the quotations from the Koran is significant. “Yorick Sterne,” he says, “war der schönste Geist, der je gewirkt hat; wer ihn liest, fühlet sich sogleich frei und schön; sein Humor ist unnachahmlich, und nicht jeder Humor befreit die Seele” (490). “Sagacität und Penetration sind bei ihm grenzenlos” (528). Goethe asserts here that every person of culture should at that very time read Sterne’s works, so that the nineteenth century might learn “what we owed him and perceive what we might owe him.” Goethe took Sterne’s narrative of his journey as a representation of an actual trip, or else he is speaking of Sterne’s letters in the following:


“Seine Heiterkeit, Genügsamkeit, Duldsamkeit auf der Reise, wo diese Eigenschaften am meisten geprüft werden, finden nicht leicht Ihresgleichen” (No. 529), and Goethe’s opinion of Sterne’s indecency is characteristic of Goethe’s attitude. He says: “Das Element der Lüsternheit, in dem er sich so zierlich und sinnig benimmt, würde vielen Andern zum Verderben gereichen.”

The juxtaposition of these quotations and this appreciation of Sterne is proof sufficient that Goethe considered Sterne the author of the Koran at the time when the notes were made. At precisely what time this occurred it is now impossible to determine, but the drift of the comment, combined with our knowledge from sources already mentioned, that Goethe turned again to Sterne in the latter years of his life, would indicate that the quotations were made in the latter part of the twenties, and that the re-reading of Sterne included the Koran. Since the translations which Goethe gives are not identical with those in the rendering ascribed to Bode (1778), Loeper suggests Goethe himself as the translator of the individual quotations. Loeper is ignorant of the earlier translation of Gellius, which Goethe may have used.73

There is yet another possibility of connection between Goethe and the Koran. This work contained the story of the Graf von Gleichen, which is acknowledged to have been a precursor of Goethe’s “Stella.” Düntzer in his “Erläuterungen zu den deutschen Klassikern” says it is impossible to determine whence Goethe took the story for “Stella.” He mentions that it was contained in Bayle’s Dictionary, which is known to have been in Goethe’s father’s library, and two other books, both dating from the sixteenth century, are noted as possible sources. It seems rather more probable that Goethe found the story in the Koran, which was published but a few years before “Stella” was written and translated but a year later, 107 1771, that is, but four years, or even less, before the appearance of “Stella” (1775).74

Precisely in the spirit of the opinions quoted above is the little essay75 on Sterne which was published in the sixth volume of “Ueber Kunst und Alterthum,” in which Goethe designates Sterne as a man “who first stimulated and propagated the great epoch of purer knowledge of humanity, noble toleration and tender love, in the second half of the last century.” Goethe further calls attenion to Sterne’s disclosure of human peculiarities (Eigenheiten), and the importance and interest of these native, governing idiosyncrasies.

These are, in general, superficial relationships. A thorough consideration of these problems, especially as concerns the cultural indebtedness of Goethe to the English master would be a task demanding a separate work. Goethe was an assimilator and summed up in himself the spirit of a century, the attitude of predecessors and contemporaries.

C. F. D. Schubart wrote a poem entitled “Yorick,”76 beginning

“Als Yorik starb, da flog

Sein Seelchen auf den Himmel

So leicht wie ein Seufzerchen.”

The angels ask him for news of earth, and the greater part of the poem is occupied with his account of human fate. The relation is quite characteristic of Schubart in its gruesomeness, its insistence upon all-surrounding death and dissolution; but it contains no suggestion of Sterne’s manner, or point of view. The only explanation of association between the poem and its title is that Schubart shared the one-sided German estimate of Sterne’s character and hence represented him as a sympathetic messenger bringing to heaven on his death some tidings of human weakness.

In certain other manifestations, relatively subordinate, the German literature of the latter part of the eighteenth century 108 and the beginning of the nineteenth and the life embodied therein are different from what they would have been had it not been for Sterne’s example. Some of these secondary fruits of the Sterne cult have been mentioned incidentally and exemplified in the foregoing pages. It would perhaps be conducive to definiteness to gather them here.

Sterne’s incontinuity of narration, the purposeful irrelation of parts, the use of anecdote and episode, which to the stumbling reader reduce his books to collections of disconnected essays and instances, gave to German mediocrity a sanction to publish a mass of multifarious, unrelated, and nondescript thought and incident. It is to be noted that the spurious books such as the Koran, which Germany never clearly sundered from the original, were direct examples in England of such disjointed, patchwork books. Such a volume with a significant title is “Mein Kontingent zur Modelectüre.”77 Further, eccentricity in typography, in outward form, may be largely attributed to Sterne’s influence, although in individual cases no direct connection is traceable. Thus, to the vagaries of Shandy is due probably the license of the author of “Karl Blumenberg, eine tragisch-komische Geschichte,”78 who fills half pages with dashes and whole lines with “Ha! Ha!”

As has been suggested already, Sterne’s example was potent in fostering the use of such stylistic peculiarities, as the direct appeal to, and conversation with the reader about the work, and its progress, and the various features of the situation. It was in use by Sterne’s predecessors in England and by their 109 followers in Germany, before Sterne can be said to have exercised any influence; for example, Hermes uses the device constantly in “Miss Fanny Wilkes,” but Sterne undoubtedly contributed largely to its popularity. One may perhaps trace to Sterne’s blank pages and similar vagaries the eccentricity of the author of “Ueber die Moralische Schönheit und Philosophie des Lebens,”79 whose eighth chapter is titled “Vom Stolz, eine Erzählung,” this title occupying one page; the next page (210) is blank; the following page is adorned with an urnlike decoration beneath which we read, “Es war einmal ein Priester.” These three pages complete the chapter. The author of “Dorset und Julie” (Leipzig, 1773–4) is also guilty of similar Yorickian follies.80

Sterne’s ideas found approbation and currency apart from his general message of the sentimental and humorous attitude toward the world and its course. For example, the hobby-horse theory was warmly received, and it became a permanent figure in Germany, often, and especially at first, with playful reminder of Yorick’s use of the term.81 Yorick’s mock-scientific division of travelers seems to have met with especial approval, and evidently became a part of conversational, and epistolary commonplace allusion. Goethe in a letter to Marianne Willemer, November 9, 1830,82 with direct reference to Sterne proposes for his son, then traveling in Italy, the additional designation of the “bold” or “complete” traveler. Carl August in a letter to Knebel,83 dated December 26, 1785, makes quite extended allusion to the classification. Lessing writes to Mendelssohn December 12, 1780: “The traveler whom you sent to me a while ago was an inquisitive traveler. The one with whom I now answer is an emigrating one.” The passage which follows is an apology for thus adding to Yorick’s list. 110 The two travelers were respectively one Fliess and Alexander Daveson.84 Nicolai makes similar allusion to the “curious” traveler of Sterne’s classification near the beginning of his “Beschreibung einer Reise durch Deutschland und die Schweiz im Jahre 1781.”85

Further search would increase the number of such allusions indefinitely. A few will be mentioned in the following chapter.

One of Walter Shandy’s favorite contentions was the fortuitous dependence of great events upon insignificant details. In his philosophy, trifles were the determining factors of existence. The adoption of this theory in Germany, as a principle in developing events or character in fiction, is unquestionable in Wezel’s “Tobias Knaut,” and elsewhere. The narrative, “Die Grosse Begebenheit aus kleinen Ursachen” in the second volume of the Erholungen,86 represents a wholesale appropriation of the idea,—to be sure not new in Shandy, but most strikingly exemplified there.

In “Sebaldus Nothanker” the Revelation of St. John is a Sterne-like hobby-horse and is so regarded by a reviewer in the Magazin der deutschen Critik.87 Schottenius in Knigge’s “Reise nach Braunschweig” rides his hobby in the shape of his fifty-seven sermons.88 Lessing uses the Steckenpferd in a letter to Mendelssohn, November 5, 1768 (Lachmann edition, XII, p. 212), and numerous other examples of direct or indirect allusion might be cited. Sterne’s worn-out coin was a simile adopted and felt to be pointed.89

Jacob Minor in a suggestive article in Euphorion,90 entitled “Wahrheit und Lüge auf dem Theater und in der Literatur,” expressed the opinion that Sterne was instrumental in sharpening powers of observation with reference to self-deception in little things, to all the deceiving impulses of the human soul. 111 It is held that through Sterne’s inspiration Wieland and Goethe were rendered zealous to combat false ideals and life-lies in greater things. It is maintained that Tieck also was schooled in Sterne, and, by means of powers of observation sharpened in this way, was enabled to portray the conscious or unconscious life-lie.

1. A writer in the Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitungen, 1775 (II, 787 ff.), asserts that Sterne’s works are the favorite reading of the German nation.

2. A further illustration may be found in the following discourse: “Von einigen Hindernissen des akademischen Fleisses. Eine Rede bey dem Anfange der öffentlichen Vorlesungen gehalten,” von J. C. C. Ferber, Professor zu Helmstädt (1773, 8o), reviewed in Magazin der deutschen Critik, III, St. I., pp. 261 ff. This academic guide of youth speaks of Sterne in the following words: “Wie tief dringt dieser Philosoph in die verborgensten Gänge des menschlichen Herzens, wie richtig entdeckt er die geheimsten Federn der Handlungen, wie entlarvt, wie verabscheuungsvoll steht vor ihm das Laster, wie liebenswürdig die Tugend! wie interessant sind seine Schilderungen, wie eindringend seine Lehren! und woher diese grosse Kenntniss des Menschen, woher diese getreue Bezeichnung der Natur, diese sanften Empfindungen, die seine geistvolle Sprache hervorbringt? Dieser Saame der Tugend, den er mit wohlthätiger Hand ausstreuet?” Yorick held up to college or university students as a champion of virtue is certainly an extraordinary spectacle. A critic in the Frankfurter Gel. Anz., August 18, 1772, in criticising the make-up of a so-called “Landbibliothek,” recommends books “die geschickt sind, die guten einfältigen, ungekünstelten Empfindungen reiner Seelen zu unterhalten, einen Yorick vor allen . . . .” The long article on Sterne’s character in the Götting. Mag., I, pp. 84–92, 1780, “Etwas über Sterne: Schreiben an Prof. Lichtenberg” undoubtedly helped to establish this opinion of Sterne authoritatively. In it Sterne’s weaknesses are acknowledged, but the tendency is to emphasize the tender, sympathetic side of his character. The conception of Yorick there presented is quite different from the one held by Lichtenberg himself.

3. The story of the “Lorenzodosen” is given quite fully in Longo’s monograph, “Laurence Sterne und Johann Georg Jacobi” (Wien, 1898, pp. 39–44), and the sketch given here is based upon his investigation, with consultation of the sources there cited. Nothing new is likely to be added to his account, but because of its important illustrative bearing on the whole story of Sterne in Germany, a fairly complete account is given here. Longo refers to the following as literature on the subject:

Martin, in Quellen und Forschungen, II, p. 10, p. 27, Anmerk. 24.

Wittenberg’s letter in Quellen und Forschungen, II, pp. 52–53.

K. M. Werner, in article on Ludw. Philipp Hahn in the same series, XXII, pp. 127 ff.

Appell: “Werther und seine Zeit,” Leipzig, 1855, p. 168. (Oldenburg, 1896, p. 246–250).

Schlichtegroll: “Nekrolog von 1792,” II, pp. 37 ff.

Klotz: Bibliothek, V, p. 285.

Jacobi’s Werke, 1770, I, pp. 127 ff.

Allg. deutsche Bibl., XIX, 2, p. 174; XII, 2, p. 279.

Julian Schmidt: “Aus der Zeit der Lorenzodosen,” Westermann’s Monatshefte, XLIX, pp. 479 ff.

The last article is popular and only valuable in giving letters of Wieland and others which display the emotional currents of the time. It has very little to do with the Lorenzodosen.

4. The letter is reprinted in Jacobi’s Works, 1770, I, pp. 31 ff., and in an abridged form in the edition of 1807, I, pp. 103 ff.; and in the edition of Zürich, 1825, I, pp. 270–275.

5. XI, 2, pp. 174–75.

6. Quellen und Forschungen, XXII, p. 127.

7. Ibid., II, pp. 52–53.

8. This was in a letter to Jacobi October 25, 1770, though Appell gives the date 1775—evidently a misprint.

9. Review of “Trois lettres françoises par quelques allemands,” Amsterdam (Berlin), 1769, 8o, letters concerned with Jacobi’s “Winterreise” and the snuff-boxes themselves.

10. XII, 2, p. 279.

11. Longo was unable to find one of these once so popular snuff-boxes,—a rather remarkable fact. There is, however, a picture of one at the end of the chapter “Yorick,” p. 15 in Göchhausen’s M . . . . R . . . .,—a small oval box. Emil Kuh, in his life of Fredrich Hebbel (1877, I, pp. 117–118) speaks of the Lorenzodose as “dreieckig.” A chronicler in Schlichtegroll’s “Nekrolog,” 1792, II, p. 51, also gives rumor of an order of “Sanftmuth und Toleranz, der eine dreyeckigte Lorenzodose zum Symbol führte.” The author here is unable to determine whether this is a part of Jacobi’s impulse or the initiative of another.

12. Fourth Edition. Berlin and Stettin, 1779, III, p. 99.

13. “Christopher Kaufmann, der Kraftapostel der Geniezeit” von Heinrich Düntzer, Historisches Taschenbuch, edited by Fr. v. Raumer, third series, tenth year, Leipzig, 1859, pp. 109–231. Düntzer’s sources concerning Kaufmann’s life in Strassburg are Schmohl’s “Urne Johann Jacob Mochels,” 1780, and “Johann Jacob Mochel’s Reliquien verschiedener philosophischen pädogogischen poetischen und andern Aufsätze,” 1780. These books have unfortunately not been available for the present use.

14. For account of Leuchsenring see Varnhagen van Ense, “Vermischte Schriften”, I. 492–532.

15. Schlichtegroll’s “Nekrolog,” 1792, II, pp. 37 ff. There is also given here a quotation written after Sterne’s death, which is of interest:

“Wir erben, Yorick, deine Dose,

Auch deine Feder erben wir;

Doch wer erhielt im Erbschaftsloose

Dein Herz? O Yorick, nenn ihn mir!”

16. Works of Friedrich von Matthison, Zürich, 1825, III, pp. 141 ff., in “Erinnerungen,” zweites Buch. The “Vaterländische Besuche” were dated 1794.

17. Briefe von Friedrich Matthison, Zürich, 1795, I, pp. 27–32.

18. Shandy, III, 22.

19. Briefe, II, p. 95.

20. “Herders Briefwechsel mit seiner Braut”, pp. 92, 181, 187, 253, 377.

21. Quoted by Koberstein, IV, p. 168. Else, p. 31; Hettner, III, 1, p. 362, quoted from letters in Friedrich Schlegel’s Deutsches Museum, IV, p. 145. These letters are not given by Goedeke.

22. The review is credited to him by Koberstein, III, pp. 463–4.

23. XIX, 2, p. 579.

24. See “Bemerkungen oder Briefe über Wien, eines jungen Bayern auf einer Reise durch Deutschland,” Leipzig (probably 1804 or 1805). It is, according to the Jenaische Allg. Litt. Zeitung (1805, IV, p. 383), full of extravagant sentiment with frequent apostrophe to the author’s “Evelina.” Also, “Meine Reise vom Städtchen H . . . . zum Dörfchen H . . . .” Hannover, 1799. See Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1799, IV, p. 87. “Reisen unter Sonne, Mond und Sternen,” Erfurt, 1798, pp. 220, 8o. This is evidently a similar work, but is classed by Allg. Litt. Zeitung (1799, I, 477) as an imitation of Jean Paul, hence indirectly to be connected with Yorick. “Reisen des grünen Mannes durch Deutschland,” Halle, 1787–91. See Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1789, I, 217; 1791, IV, p. 576. “Der Teufel auf Reisen,” two volumes, Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1789. See Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1789, I, p. 826. Knigge’s books of travels also share in this enlivening and subjectivizing of the traveler’s narrative.

25. Altenburg, Richter, 1775, six volumes.

26. Reviewed in Allg. deutsche Bibl., X, 2, p. 127, and Neue Critische Nachrichten, Greifswald V, p. 222.

27. Many of the anonymous books, even those popular in their day, are not given by Goedeke; and Baker, judging only by one external, naturally misses Sterne products which have no distinctively imitative title, and includes others which have no connection with Sterne. For example, he gives Gellius’s “Yoricks Nachgelassene Werke,” which is but a translation of the Koran, and hence in no way an example of German imitation; he gives also Schummel’s “Fritzens Reise nach Dessau” (1776) and “Reise nach Schlesien” (1792), Nonne’s “Amors Reisen nach Fockzana zum Friedenscongress” (1773), none of which has anything to do with Sterne. “Trim oder der Sieg der Liebe über die Philosophie” (Leipzig, 1776), by Ludw. Ferd. v. Hopffgarten, also cited by Baker, undoubtedly owes its name only to Sterne. See Jenaische Zeitungen von gel. Sachen, 1777, p. 67, and Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXIV, 2, p. 484; similarly “Lottchens Reise ins Zuchthaus” by Kirtsten, 1777, is given in Baker’s list, but the work “Reise” is evidently used here only in a figurative sense, the story being but the relation of character deterioration, a downward journey toward the titular place of punishment. See Jenaische Zeitungen von gel. Sachen, 1777, pp. 739 ff.; 1778, p. 12. Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXV, 1, p. 182. Baker gives Bock’s “Tagereise” and “Geschichte eines empfundenen Tages” as if they were two different books. He further states: “Sterne is the parent of a long list of German Sentimental Journeys which began with von Thümmel’s ‘Reise in die mittäglichen Provinzen Frankreichs.’” This work really belongs comparatively late in the story of imitations. Two of Knigge’s books are also included. See p. 166–7.

28. “Laurence Sterne und C. M. Wieland, von Karl August Behmer, Forschungen zur neueren Litteraturgeschichte IX. München, 1899. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung fremder Einflüsse auf Wieland’s Dichtung.” To this reference has been made. There is also another briefer study of this connection: a Programm by F. Bauer, “Ueber den Einfluss, Laurence Sternes auf Chr. M. Wieland,” Karlsbad, 1898. A. Mager published, 1890, at Marburg, “Wieland’s Nachlass des Diogenes von Sinope und das englische Vorbild,” a school “Abhandlung,” which dealt with a connection between this work of Wieland and Sterne. Wood (“Einfluss Fieldings auf die deutsche Litteratur,” Yokohama, 1895) finds constant imitation of Sterne in “Don Silvio,” which, from Behmer’s proof concerning the dates of Wieland’s acquaintance with Sterne, can hardly be possible.

29. Some other works are mentioned as containing references and allusions.

30. In “Oberon” alone of Wieland’s later works does Behmer discover Sterne’s influence and there no longer in the style, but in the adaptation of motif.

31. See Erich Schmidt’s “Richardson, Rousseau und Goethe,” Jena, 1875, pp. 46–7.

32. 1790, I, pp. 209–16.

33. This may be well compared with Wieland’s statements concerning Shandy in his review of the Bode translation (Merkur, VIII, pp. 247–51, 1774), which forms one of the most exaggerated expressions of adoration in the whole epoch of Sterne’s popularity.

34. Since Germany did not sharply separate the work of Sterne from his continuator, this is, of course, to be classed from the German point of view at that time as a borrowing from Sterne. Mager in his study depends upon the Eugenius continuation for this and several other parallels.

35. Sentimental Journey, pp. 31–32.

36. “Ich denke nicht, dass es Sie gereuen wird, den Mann näher kennen zu lernen” spoken of Demokritus in “Die Abderiten;” see Merkur, 1774, I, p. 56.

37. Wieland’s own genuine appreciation of Sterne and understanding of his characteristics is indicated incidentally in a review of a Swedish book in the Teutscher Merkur, 1782, II, p. 192, in which he designates the description of sentimental journeying in the seventh book of Shandy as the best of Sterne’s accomplishment, as greater than the Journey itself, a judgment emanating from a keen and true knowledge of Sterne.

38. Lebensbild, V, Erlangen, 1846, p. 89. Letter to Hartknoch, Paris, November, 1769. In connection with his journey and his “Reisejournal,” he speaks of his “Tristramschen Meynungen.” See Lebensbild, Vol. V, p. 61.

39. Suphan, IV, p. 190. For further reference to Sterne in Herder’s letters, see “Briefe Herders an Hamann,” edited by Otto Hoffmann, Berlin, 1889, pp. 28, 51, 57, 71, 78, 194.

40. Lachmann edition, Berlin, 1840, XII, pp. 212, 240.

41. Eckermann: “Gespräche mit Goethe,” Leipzig, 1885, II, p. 29; or Biedermann, “Goethe’s Gespräche,” Leipzig, 1890, VI, p. 359.

42. “Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Zelter, in den Jahren, 1796–1832.” Ed. by Fr. W. Riemer, Berlin, 1833–4, Vol. V, p. 349. Both of these quotations are cited by Siegmund Levy, “Goethe und Oliver Goldsmith;” Goethe-Jahrbuch, VI, 1885, pp. 282 ff. The translation in this case is from that of A. D. Coleridge.

43. Griesebach: “Das Goetheische Zeitalter der deutschen Dichtung,” Leipzig, 1891, p. 29.

44. II, 10th book, Hempel, XXI, pp. 195 ff.

45. “Briefe an Joh. Heinrich Merck von Göthe, Herder, Wieland und andern bedeutenden Zeitgenossen,” edited by Dr. Karl Wagner, Darmstadt, 1835, p. 5; and “Briefe an und von Joh. Heinrich Merck,” issued by the same editor, Darmstadt, 1838, pp. 5, 21.

46. In the “Wanderschaft,” see J. H. Jung-Stilling, Sämmtliche Werke. Stuttgart, 1835, I, p. 277.

47. “Herder’s Briefwechsel mit seiner Braut, April, 1771, to April, 1773,” edited by Düntzer and F. G. von Herder, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1858, pp. 247 ff.

48. See Frankfurter Gel. Anz., 1774, February 22.

49. Kürschner edition of Goethe, Vol. XXII, pp. 146–7.

50. See introduction by Dünster in the Kürschner edition, XIII, pp. 137 ff., and that by Fr. Strehlke in the Hempel edition, XVI. pp. 217 ff.

51. Kürschner edition, Vol. XXIV, p. 15; Tag- und Jahreshefte, 1789.

52. “Goethe’s Romantechnik,” Leipzig, 1902. The author here incidentally expresses the opinion that Heinse is also an imitator of Sterne.

53. Julius Goebel, in “Goethe-Jahrbuch,” XXI, pp. 208 ff.

54. See Euphorion, IV, p. 439.

55. Eckermann, III, p. 155; Biedermann, VI, p. 272.

56. Eckermann, III, p. 170; Biedermann, VI, p. 293.

57. Eckermann, II, p. 19; Biedermann, VII, p. 184. This quotation is given in the Anhang to the “Wanderjahre.” Loeper says (Hempel, XIX, p. 115) that he has been unable to find it anywhere in Sterne; see p. 105.

58. See “Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Zelter.” Zelter’s replies contain also reference to Sterne. VI, p. 33 he speaks of the Sentimental Journey as “ein balsamischer Frühlingsthau.” See also II, p. 51; VI, p. 207. Goethe is reported as having spoken of the Sentimental Journey: “Man könne durchaus nicht besser ausdrücken, wie des Menschen Herz ein trotzig und verzagt Ding sei.”

59. “Mittheilungen über Goethe,” von F. W. Riemer, Berlin, 1841, II, p. 658. Also, Biedermann, VII, p. 332.

60. See Hempel, XXIX, p. 240.

61. Kürschner, XVI, p. 372.

62. IX, p. 438.

63. See “Briefe von Goethe an Johanna Fahlmer,” edited by L. Ulrichs, Leipzig, 1875, p. 91, and Shandy, II, pp. 70 and 48.

64. “Goethe’s Briefe an Frau von Stein,” hrsg. von Adolf Schöll; 2te Aufl, bearbeitet von W. Fielitz, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1883, Vol. I, p. 276.

65. References to the Tagebücher are as follows: Robert Keil’s Leipzig, 1875, p. 107, and Düntzer’s, Leipzig, 1889, p. 73.

66. See also the same author’s “Goethe, sa vie et ses oeuvres,” Paris, 1866; Appendice pp. 291–298. Further literature is found: “Vergleichende Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung,” 1863, No. 36, and 1869, Nos. 10 and 14. Morgenblatt, 1863, Nr. 39, article by Alex. Büchner, Sterne’s “Coran und Makariens Archiv, Goethe ein Plagiator?” and Deutsches Museum, 1867, No. 690.

67. Minden i. W., 1885, pp. 330–336.

68. “Druck vollendet in Mai” according to Baumgartner, III, p. 292.

69. II, pp. 230–233. May 15, 1831.

70. Goedeke gives Vol. XXIII, A. l. H. as 1829.

71. Hempel, XIX, “Sprüche in Prosa,” edited by G. von Loeper, Maximen und Reflexionen; pp. 106–111 and 113–117.

72. Letters, I, p. 54.

73. This seems very odd in view of the fact that in Loeper’s edition of “Dichtung und Wahrheit” (Hempel, XXII, p. 264) Gellius is referred to as “the translator of Lillo and Sterne.” It must be that Loeper did not know that Gellius’s “Yorick’s Nachgelassene Werke” was a translation of the Koran.

74. The problem involved in the story of Count Gleichen was especially sympathetic to the feeling of the eighteenth century. See a series of articles by Fr. Heibig in Magazin für Litteratur des In- und Auslandes, Vol. 60, pp. 102–5; 120–2; 136–9. “Zur Geschichte des Problems des Grafen von Gleichen.”

75. Weimar edition, Vol. XLI, 2, pp. 252–253.

76. Gesammelte Schriften, Stuttgart, 1839, IV, pp. 272–3.

77. Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1775. See Gothaische Gel. Zeitungen, 1776, I, pp. 208–9, and Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXII, 1, p. 139. Jenaische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen, September 27, 1776. This does not imply that Sterne was in this respect an innovator; such books were printed before Sterne’s influence was felt, e.g., Magazin von Einfällen, Breslau, 1763 (?), reviewed in Leipziger Neue Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen, February 20, 1764. See also “Reisen im Vaterlande,—Kein Roman aber ziemlich theatralisch-politisch und satyrischen Inhalts,” two volumes; Königsberg and Leipzig, 1793–4, reviewed in Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1795, III, p. 30. “Der Tändler, oder Streifereyen in die Wildnisse der Einbildungskraft, in die Werke der Natur und menschlichen Sitten,” Leipzig, 1778 (?), (Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1779, p. 48). “Meine Geschichte oder Begebenheiten des Herrn Thomas: ein narkotisches Werk des Doktor Pifpuf,” Münster und Leipzig, 1772, pp. 231, 8o. A strange episodical conglomerate; see Magazin der deutschen Critik, II, p. 135.

78. Leipzig, 1785 or 1786. See Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1786, III, p. 259.

79. Altenburg, 1772, by von Schirach (?).

80. See Auserlesene Bibl. der neuesten deutschen Litteratur, IV, pp. 320–325, and VII, pp. 227–234. Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXIII, 1, p. 258; XXVI, 1, p. 209.

81. Riedel uses it, for example, in his “Launen an meinen Satyr,” speaking of “mein swiftisch Steckenthier” in “Vermischte Aufsätze,” reviewed in Frankfurter Gel. Anz., 1772, pp. 358–9. Magazin der deutschen Critik, I, pp. 290–293.

82. “Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Marianne Willemer (Suleika).” Edited by Th. Creizenach, 2d edition; Stuttgart, 1878, p. 290.

83. “K. L. von Knebel’s literarischer Nachlass und Briefwechsel;” edited by Varnhagen von Ense and Th. Mundt, Leipzig, 1835, p. 147.

84. See Mendelssohn’s Schriften; edited by G. B. Mendelssohn, Leipzig, 1844, V, p. 202. See also letter of Mendelssohn to Lessing, February 18, 1780.

85. Third edition, Berlin and Stettin, 1788, p. 14.

86. II, pp. 218 ff.

87. II, 2, p. 127.

88. These two cases are mentioned also by Riemann in “Goethe’s Romantechnik.”

89. See Frankfurter Gel. Anz., May 8, 1772, p. 296.

90. III, pp. 276 ff.



Among the disciples of Sterne in Germany whose literary imitation may be regarded as typical of their master’s influence, Johann Georg Jacobi is perhaps the best known. His relation to the famous “Lorenzodosen” conceit is sufficient to link his name with that of Yorick. Martin1 asserts that he was called “Uncle Toby” in Gleim’s circle because of his enthusiasm for Sterne. The indebtedness of Jacobi to Sterne is the subject of a special study by Dr. Joseph Longo, “Laurence Sterne und Johann Georg Jacobi;” and the period of Jacobi’s literary work which falls under the spell of Yorick has also been treated in an inaugural dissertation, “Ueber Johann Georg Jacobi’s Jugendwerke,” by Georg Ransohoff. The detail of Jacobi’s indebtedness to Sterne is to be found in these two works.

Longo was unable to settle definitely the date of Jacobi’s first acquaintance with Sterne. The first mention made of him is in the letter to Gleim of April 4, 1769, and a few days afterward,—April 10,—the intelligence is afforded that he himself is working on a “journey.” The “Winterreise” was published at Düsseldorf in the middle of June, 1769. Externally the work seems more under the influence of the French wanderer Chapelle, since prose and verse are used irregularly alternating, a style quite different from the English model. There are short and unnumbered chapters, as in the Sentimental Journey, but, unlike Sterne, Jacobi, with one exception, names no places and makes no attempt at description of place or people, other than the sentimental individuals encountered on the way. He makes no analysis of national, or even local characteristics: the journey, in short, is almost completely without place-influence. 113 There is in the volume much more exuberance of fancy, grotesque at times, a more conscious exercise of the picturing imagination than we find in Sterne. There is use, too, of mythological figures quite foreign to Sterne, an obvious reminiscence of Jacobi’s Anacreontic experience. He exaggerates Yorick’s sentimentalism, is more weepy, more tender, more sympathizing; yet, as Longo does not sufficiently emphasize, he does not touch the whimsical side of Yorick’s work. Jacobi, unlike his model, but in common with other German imitators, is insistent in instruction and serious in contention for pet theories, as is exemplified by the discussion of the doctrine of immortality. There are opinions to be maintained, there is a message to be delivered. Jacobi in this does not give the lie to his nationality.

Like other German imitators, too, he took up with especial feeling the relations between man and the animal world, an attitude to be connected with several familiar episodes in Sterne.2 The two chapters, “Der Heerd” and “Der Taubenschlag,” tell of a sentimental farmer who mourns over the fact that his son has cut down a tree in which the nightingale was wont to nest. A similar sentimental regard is cherished in this family for the doves, which no one killed, because no one could eat them. Even as Yorick meets a Franciscan, Jacobi encounters a Jesuit whose heart leaps to meet his own, and later, after the real journey is done, a visit to a lonely cloister gives opportunity for converse with a monk, like Pater Lorenzo,—tender, simple and humane.

The “Sommerreise,” according to Longo, appeared in the latter part of September, 1769, a less important work, which, in the edition of 1807, Jacobi considered unworthy of preservation. Imitation of Sterne is marked: following a criticism by Wieland the author attempts to be humorous, but with dubious success; he introduces a Sterne-like sentimental character which had not been used in the “Winterreise,” a beggar-soldier, 114 and he repeats the motif of human sympathy for animals in the story of the lamb. Sympathy with erring womanhood is expressed in the incidents related in “Die Fischerhütte” and “Der Geistliche.” These two books were confessedly inspired by Yorick, and contemporary criticism treated them as Yorick products. The Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften, published by Jacobi’s friend Klotz, would naturally favor the volumes. Its review of the “Winterreise” is non-critical and chiefly remarkable for the denial of foreign imitation. The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek,3 in reviewing the same work pays a significant tribute to Sterne, praising his power of disclosing the good and beautiful in the seemingly commonplace. In direct criticism of the book, the reviewer calls it a journey of fancy, the work of a youthful poet rather than that of a sensitive philosopher. Wieland is credited with the astounding opinion that he prefers the “Sommerreise” to Yorick’s journey.4 Longo’s characterization of Sterne is in the main satisfactory, yet there is distinctly traceable the tendency to ignore or minimize the whimsical elements of Sterne’s work: this is the natural result of his approach to Sterne, through Jacobi, who understood only the sentimentalism of the English master.5

Among the works of sentiment which were acknowledged imitations of Yorick, along with Jacobi’s “Winterreise,” probably the most typical and best known was the “Empfindsame Reisen durch Deutschland” by Johann Gottlieb Schummel. Its importance as a document in the history of sentimentalism is rather as an example of tendency than as a force contributing materially to the spread of the movement. Its influence was 115 probably not great, though one reviewer does hint at a following.6 Yet the book has been remembered more persistently than any other work of its genre, except Jacobi’s works, undoubtedly in part because it was superior to many of its kind, partly, also, because its author won later and maintained a position of some eminence, as a writer and a pedagogue; but largely because Goethe’s well-known review of it in the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen has been cited as a remarkably acute contribution to the discriminating criticism of the genuine and the affected in the eighteenth-century literature of feeling, and has drawn attention from the very fact of its source to the object of its criticism.

Schummel was born in May, 1748, and hence was but twenty years of age when Germany began to thrill in response to Yorick’s sentiments. It is probable that the first volume was written while Schummel was still a university student in 1768–1770. He assumed a position as teacher in 1771, but the first volume came out at Easter of that year; this would probably throw its composition back into the year before. The second volume appeared at Michaelmas of the same year. His publisher was Zimmermann at Wittenberg and Zerbst, and the first volume at any rate was issued in a new edition. The third volume came out in the spring of 1772.7 Schummel’s title, “Empfindsame Reisen,” is, of course, taken from the newly coined word in Bode’s title, but in face of this fact it is rather remarkable to find that several quotations from Sterne’s Journey, given in the course of the work, are from the Mittelstedt translation. On two occasions, indeed, Schummel uses the title of the Mittelstedt rendering as first published, “Versuch über die menschliche Natur.”8

These facts lead one to believe that Schummel drew his inspiration from the reading of this translation. This is interesting in connection with Böttiger’s claim that the whole cavalcade of sentimental travelers who trotted along after Yorick with all sorts of animals and vehicles was a proof of the excellence and power of Bode’s translation. As one would naturally 116 infer from the title of Schummel’s fiction, the Sentimental Journey is more constantly drawn upon as a source of ideas, motifs, expression, and method, than Tristram Shandy, but the allusions to Sterne’s earlier book, and the direct adaptations from it are both numerous and generous. This fact has not been recognized by the critics, and is not an easy inference from the contemporary reviews.

The book is the result of an immediate impulse to imitation felt irresistibly on the reading of Sterne’s narrative. That the critics and readers of that day treated with serious consideration the efforts of a callow youth of twenty or twenty-one in this direction is indicative either of comparative vigor of execution, or of prepossession of the critical world in favor of the literary genre,—doubtless of both. Schummel confesses that the desire to write came directly after the book had been read. “I had just finished reading it,” he says, “and Heaven knows with what pleasure, every word from ‘as far as this matter is concerned’ on to ‘I seized the hand of the lady’s maid,’ were imprinted in my soul with small invisible letters.” The characters of the Journey stood “life-size in his very soul.” Involuntarily his inventive powers had sketched several plans for a continuation, releasing Yorick from the hand of the fille de chambre. But what he attempts is not a continuation but a German parallel.

In the outward events of his story, in the general trend of its argument, Schummel does not depend upon either Shandy or the Journey: the hero’s circumstances are in general not traceable to the English model, but, spasmodically, the manner of narration and the nature of the incidents are quite slavishly copied. A complete summary of the thread of incident on which the various sentimental adventures, whimsical speculations and digressions are hung, can be dispensed with: it is only necessary to note instances where connection with Sterne as a model can be established. Schummel’s narrative is often for many successive pages absolutely straightforward and simple, unbroken by any attempt at Shandean buoyancy, and unblemished by overwrought sentiment. At the pausing places he generally indulges in Sternesque quibbling.


A brief analysis of the first volume, with especial reference to the appropriation of Yorick features, will serve to show the extent of imitation, and the nature of the method. In outward form the Sentimental Journey is copied. The volume is not divided into chapters, but there are named divisions: there is also Yorick-like repetition of section-headings. Naturally the author attempts at the very beginning to strike a note distinctly suggesting Sterne: “Is he dead, the old cousin?” are the first words of the volume, uttered by the hero on receipt of the news, and in Yorick fashion he calls for guesses concerning the mien with which the words were said. The conversation of the various human passions with Yorick concerning the advisability of offering the lady in Calais a seat in his chaise is here directly imitated in the questions put by avarice, vanity, etc., concerning the cousin’s death. The actual journey does not begin until page 97, a brief autobiography of the hero occupying the first part of the book; this inconsequence is confessedly intended to be a Tristram Shandy whim.9 The author’s relation to his parents is adapted directly from Shandy, since he here possesses an incapable, unpractical, philosophizing father, who determines upon methods for the superior education of his son; and a simple, silly mockery of a mother.

Left, however, an orphan, he begins his sentimental adventures: thrust on the world he falls in with a kindly baker’s wife whose conduct toward him brings tears to the eyes of the ten-year old lad, this showing his early appetite for sentimental journeying. A large part of this first section relating to his early life and youthful struggles, his kindly benefactor, his adventure with Potiphar’s wife, is simple and direct, with only an occasional hint of Yorick’s influence in word or phrase, as if the author, now and then, recalled the purpose and the inspiration. For example, not until near the bottom of page 30 does it occur to him to be abrupt and indulge in Shandean eccentricities, and then again, after a few lines, he resumes the natural order of discourse. And again, on page 83, he breaks off into attempted frivolity and Yorick whimsicality 118 of narration. In starting out upon his journey the author says: “I will tread in Yorick’s foot-prints, what matters it if I do not fill them out? My heart is not so broad as his, the sooner can it be filled; my head is not so sound; my brain not so regularly formed. My eyes are not so clear, but for that he was born in England and I in Germany; he is a man and I am but a youth, in short, he is Yorick and I am not Yorick.” He determines to journey where it is most sentimental and passes the various lands in review in making his decision. Having fastened upon Germany, he questions himself similarly with reference to the cities. Yorick’s love of lists, of mock-serious discrimination, of inconsequential reasonings is here copied. The call upon epic, tragic, lyric poets, musicians, etc., which follows here is a further imitation of Yorick’s list-making and pseudo-scientific method.

On his way to Leipzig, in the post-chaise, the author falls in with a clergyman: the manner of this meeting is intended to be Sterne-like: Schummel sighs, the companion remarks, “You too are an unhappy one,” and they join hands while the human heart beams in the traveler’s eyes. They weep too at parting. But, apart from these external incidents of their meeting, the matter of their converse is in no way inspired by Sterne. It joins itself with the narrative of the author’s visit to a church in a village by the wayside, and deals in general with the nature of the clergyman’s relation to his people and the general mediocrity and ineptitude of the average homiletical discourse, the failure of clergymen to relate their pulpit utterance to the life of the common Christian,—all of which is genuine, sane and original, undoubtedly a real protest on the part of Schummel, the pedagogue, against a prevailing abuse of his time and other times. This section represents unquestionably the earnest convictions of its author, and is written with professional zeal. This division is followed by an evidently purposeful return to Sterne’s eccentricity of manner. The author begins a division of his narrative, “Der zerbrochene Postwagen,” which is probably meant to coincide with the post-chaise accident in Shandy’s travels, writes a few lines in it, then begins the section again, something like the interrupted 119 story of the King of Bohemia and his Seven Castles. Then follows an abrupt discursive study of his aptitudes and proclivities, interspersed with Latin exclamations, interrogation points and dashes. “What a parenthesis is that!” he cries, and a few lines further on, “I burn with longing to begin a parenthesis again.” On his arrival in Leipzig, Schummel imitates closely Sterne’s satirical guide-book description of Calais10 in his brief account of the city, breaking off abruptly like Sterne, and roundly berating all “Reisebeschreiber.” Here in fitting contrast with this superficial enumeration of facts stands his brief traveler’s creed, an interest in people rather than in places, all of which is derived from Sterne’s chapter, “In the Street, Calais,” in which the master discloses the sentimental possibilities of traveling and typifies the superficial, unemotional wanderer in the persons of Smelfungus and Mundungus, and from the familiar passage in “The Passport, Versailles,” beginning, “But I could wish to spy out the nakedness, etc.” No sooner is he arrived in Leipzig, than he accomplishes a sentimental rescue of an unfortunate woman on the street. In the expression of her immediate needs, Schummel indulges for the first time in a row of stars, with the obvious intention of raising a low suggestion, which he contradicts with mock-innocent questionings a few lines later, thereby fastening the attention on the possibility of vulgar interpretation. Sterne is guilty of this device in numerous instances in both his works, and the English continuation of the Sentimental Journey relies upon it in greater and more revolting measure.

Once established in his hotel, the author betakes himself to the theater: this very act he feels will bring upon him the censure of the critics, for Yorick went to the theater too. “A merchant’s boy went along before me,” he says in naïve defense, “was he also an imitator of Yorick?” On the way he meets a fair maid-in-waiting, and the relation between her and the traveler, developed here and later, is inspired directly by Yorick’s connection with the fair fille de chambre. Schummel imitates Sterne’s excessive detail of description, devoting a 120 whole paragraph to his manner of removing his hat before a lady whom he encounters on this walk to the theater. This was another phase of Sterne’s pseudo-scientific method: he describes the trivial with the attitude of the trained observer, registering minutely the detail of phenomena, a mock-parade of scholarship illustrated by his description of Trim’s attitude while reading his sermon, or the dropping of the hat in the kitchen during the memorable scene when the news of Bobby’s death is brought.

In Schummel’s narration of his adventures in the house of ill-repute there are numerous sentimental excrescences in his conduct with the poor prisoner there, due largely to Yorick’s pattern, such as their weeping on one another’s breast, and his wiping away her tears and his, drawn from Yorick’s amiable service for Maria of Moulines, an act seemingly expressing the most refined human sympathy. The remaining events of this first volume include an unexpected meeting with the kind baker’s wife, which takes place at Gellert’s grave. Yorick’s imitators were especially fond of re-introducing a sentimental relationship. Yorick led the way in his renewed acquaintance with the fille de chambre; Stevenson in his continuation went to extremes in exploiting this cheap device.

Other motifs derived from Sterne, less integral, may be briefly summarized. From the Sentimental Journey is taken the motif that valuable or interesting papers be used to wrap ordinary articles of trade: here herring are wrapped in fragments of the father’s philosophy; in the Sentimental Journey we find a similar degrading use for the “Fragment.” Schummel breaks off the chapter “La Naïve,”11 under the Sternesque subterfuge of having to deliver manuscript to an insistent publisher. Yorick writes his preface to the Journey in the “Désobligeant,” that is, in the midst of the narrative itself. Schummel modifies the eccentricity merely by placing his foreword at the end of the volume. The value of it, he says, will repay the reader for waiting so long,—a statement which finds little justification in the preface itself. It begins, “Auweh! 121 Auweh! Ouais, Helas! . . . Diable, mein Rücken, mein Fuss!” and so on for half a page,—a pitiful effort to follow the English master’s wilful and skilful incoherence. The following pages, however, once this outbreak is at an end, contain a modicum of sense, the feeble, apologetic explanation of his desire in imitating Yorick, given in forethought of the critics’ condemnation. Similarly the position of the dedication is unusual, in the midst of the volume, even as the dedication of Shandy was roguishly delayed. The dedication itself, however, is not an imitation of Sterne’s clever satire, but, addressed to Yorick himself, is a striking example of burning personal devotion and over-wrought praise. Schummel hopes12 in Sterne fashion to write a chapter on “Vorübergeben,” or in the chapter “Das Komödienhaus” (pp. 185–210) to write a digression on “Walking behind a maid.” Like Sterne, he writes in praise of digressions.13 In imitation of Sterne is conceived the digressive speculation concerning the door through which at the beginning of the book he is cast into the rude world. Among further expressions savoring of Sterne, may be mentioned a “Centner of curses” (p. 39), a “Quentchen of curses,” and the analytical description of a tone of voice as one-fourth questioning, five-eighths entreating and one-eighth commanding (p. 229).

The direct allusions to Sterne and his works are numerous. A list of Sterne characters which were indelibly impressed upon his mind is found near the very beginning (pp. 3–4); other allusions are to M. Dessein (p. 65), La Fleur’s “Courierstiefel” (p. 115), the words of the dying Yorick (p. 128), the pococurantism of Mrs. Shandy (p. 187), the division of travelers into types (p. 141), Uncle Toby (p. 200), Yorick’s violin-playing (p. 274), the foolish fat scullion (p. 290), Yorick’s description of a maid’s (p. 188) eyes, “als ob sie zwischen vier Wänden einem Garaus machen könnten.”

The second volume is even more incoherent in narration, and contains less genuine occurrence and more ill-considered attempts at whimsicality, yet throughout this volume there are 122 indications that the author is awakening to the vulnerability of his position, and this is in no other particular more easily discernible than in the half-hearted defiance of the critics and his anticipation of their censure. The change, so extraordinary in the third volume, is foreshadowed in the second. Purely sentimental, effusive, and abundantly teary is the story of the rescued baker’s wife. In this excess of sentiment, Schummel shows his intellectual appreciation of Sterne’s individual treatment of the humane and pathetic, for near the end of the poor woman’s narrative the author seems to recollect a fundamental sentence of Sterne’s creed, the inevitable admixture of the whimsical, and here he introduces into the sentimental relation a Shandean idiosyncrasy: from page 43 the narrative leaps back to the beginning of the volume, and Schummel advises the reader to turn back and re-read, referring incidentally to his confused fashion of narration. The awkwardness with which this is done proves Schummel’s inability to follow Yorick, though its use shows his appreciation of Sterne’s peculiar genius. The visit of the author, the baker’s wife and her daughter (the former lady’s maid) to the graveyard is Yorickian in flavor, and the plucking of nettles from the grave of the dead epileptic is a direct borrowing. Attempts to be immorally, sensuously suggestive in the manner of Sterne are found in the so-called chapter on “Button-holes,” here cast in a more Shandean vein, and in the adventure “die ängstliche Nacht,”—in the latter case resembling more the less frank, more insinuating method of the Sentimental Journey. The sentimental attitude toward man’s dumb companions is imitated in his adventure with the house-dog; the author fears the barking of this animal may disturb the sleep of the poor baker’s wife: he beats the dog into silence, then grows remorseful and wishes “that I had given him no blow,” or that the dog might at least give him back the blows. His thought that the dog might be pretending its pain, he designates a subtle subterfuge of his troubled conscience, and Goethe, in the review mentioned above, exclaims, “A fine pendant to Yorick’s scene with the Monk.”

Distinctly Shandean are the numerous digressions, as on imitation 123 (p. 16), on authors and fairs (p. 45), that which he calls (pp. 226–238) “ein ganz originelles Gemische von Wiz, Belesenheit, Scharfsinn, gesunder Philosophie, Erfahrung, Algebra und Mechanik,” or (p. 253) “Von der Entstehungsart eines Buches nach Erfindung der Buchdrukerkunst,” which in reference to Sterne’s phrase, is called a “jungfräuliche Materie.” He promises (pp. 75 and 108), like Sterne, to write numerous chapters on extraordinary subjects,—indeed, he announces his intention of supplementing the missing sections of Shandy on “Button-holes” and on the “Right and Left (sic) end of a Woman.” His own promised effusions are to be “Ueber die roten und schwarzen Röcke,”, “über die Verbindung der Theologie mit Schwarz,” “Europäischen­frauenzimmer­schuhabsätze,” half a one “Ueber die Schuhsohlen” and “Ueber meinen Namen.”

His additions to Shandy are flat and witless, that on the “Right and Wrong End of a Woman” (pp. 88 ff.) degenerating into three brief narratives displaying woman’s susceptibility to flattery, the whole idea probably adapted from Sterne’s chapter, “An Act of Charity;” the chapter on “Button-holes” is made a part of the general narrative of his relation to his “Naïve.” Weakly whimsical is his seeking pardon for the discourse with which the Frenchman (pp. 62–66), under the pretext that it belonged somewhere else and had inadvertently crept in. Shandean also is the black margin to pages 199–206, the line upside down (p. 175), the twelve irregularly printed lines (p. 331), inserted to indicate his efforts in writing with a burned hand, the lines of dashes and exclamation points, the mathematical, financial calculation of the worth of his book from various points of view, and the description of the maiden’s walk (p. 291). Sterne’s mock-scientific method, as already noted, is observable again in the statement of the position of the dagger “at an angle of 30°” (p. 248). His coining of new words, for which he is censured by the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, is also a legacy of Yorick’s method.

The third volume bears little relation to Sterne aside from its title, and one can only wonder, in view of the criticism of the two parts already published and the nature of the author’s own 124 partial revulsion of feeling, that he did not give up publishing it altogether, or choose another title, and sunder the work entirely from the foregoing volumes, with which it has in fact so contradictory a connection. It may be that his relations to the publisher demanded the issuing of the third part under the same title.

This volume is easily divisible into several distinct parts, which are linked with one another, and to the preceding narrative, only by a conventional thread of introduction. These comprise: the story of Caroline and Rosenfeld, a typical eighteenth century tale of love, seduction and flight; the hosts’ ballad, “Es war einmahl ein Edelmann;” the play, “Die unschuldige Ehebrecherin” and “Mein Tagebuch,” the journal of an honest preacher, and a further sincere exploitation of Schummel’s ideas upon the clergyman’s office, his ideal of simplicity, kindliness, and humanity. In the latter part of the book Schummel resumes his original narrative, and indulges once more in the luxury of sentimental adventure, but without the former abortive attempts at imitating Sterne’s peculiarities of diction. This last resumption of the sentimental creed introduces to us one event evidently inspired by Yorick: he meets a poor, maimed soldier-beggar. Since misfortune has deprived the narrator himself of his possessions, he can give nothing and goes a begging for the beggar’s sake, introducing the new and highly sentimental idea of “vicarious begging” (pp. 268–9). In the following episode, a visit to a child-murderess, Schummel leaves a page entirely blank as an appropriate proof of incapacity to express his emotions attendant on the execution of the unfortunate. Sterne also left a page blank for the description of the Widow Wadman’s charms.

At the very end of the book Schummel drops his narrative altogether and discourses upon his own work. It would be difficult to find in any literature so complete a condemnation of one’s own serious and extensive endeavor, so candid a criticism of one’s own work, so frank an acknowledgment of the pettiness of one’s achievement. He says his work, as an imitation of Sterne’s two novels, has “few or absolutely no beauties of the original, and many faults 125 of its own.” He states that his enthusiasm for Tristram has been somewhat dampened by Sonnenfels and Riedel; he sees now faults which should not have been imitated; the frivolous attitude of the narrator toward his father and mother is deprecated, and the suggestion is given that this feature was derived from Tristram’s own frankness concerning the eccentricities and incapacities of his parents. He begs reference to a passage in the second volume14 where the author alludes with warmth of appreciation to his real father and mother; that is, genuine regard overcame the temporary blindness, real affection arose and thrust out the transitory inclination to an alien whimsicality.

Schummel admits that he has utterly failed in his effort to characterize the German people in the way Sterne treated the English and French; he confesses that the ninety-page autobiography which precedes the journey itself was intended to be Tristram-like, but openly stigmatizes his own failure as “ill conceived, incoherent and not very well told!” After mentioning some few incidents and passages in this first section which he regards as passable, he boldly condemns the rest as “almost beneath all criticism,” and the same words are used with reference to much that follows, in which he confesses to imitation, bad taste and intolerable indelicacy. He calls his pathetic attempts at whimsical mannerisms (Heideldum, etc.), “kläglich, überaus kläglich,” expresses the opinion that one would not be surprised at the reader who would throw away the whole book at such a passage. The words of the preacher in the two sections where he is allowed to air his opinions still meet with his approval, and the same is true of one or two other sections. In conclusion, he states that the first part contains hardly one hundred good pages, and that the second part is worse than the first, so that he is unwilling to look at it again and seek out its faults. The absence of allusions to Sterne’s writings is marked, except in the critical section at the end, he mentions Sterne but once (p. 239), where he calls him “schnurrigt.” This alteration of feeling must have taken place in a brief space of time, for the third volume is signed 126 April 25, 1772. It is not easy to establish with probability the works of Sonnenfels and Riedel which are credited with a share in this revulsion of feeling.

In all of this Schummel is a discriminating critic of his own work; he is also discerning in his assertion that the narrative contained in his volume is conceived more in the vein of Fielding and Richardson. The Sterne elements are rather embroidered on to the other fabric, or, as he himself says, using another figure, “only fried in Shandy fat.”15

Goethe’s criticism of the second volume, already alluded to, is found in the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen in the issue of March 3, 1772. The nature of the review is familiar: Goethe calls the book a thistle which he has found on Yorick’s grave. “Alles,” he says, “hat es dem guten Yorick geraubt, Speer, Helm und Lanze, nur Schade! inwendig steckt der Herr Präceptor S. zu Magdeburg . . . Yorick empfand, und dieser setzt sich hin zu empfinden. Yorick wird von seiner Laune ergriffen, und weinte und lachte in einer Minute und durch die Magie der Sympathie lachen und weinen wir mit: hier aber steht einer und überlegt: wie lache und weine ich? was werden die Leute sagen, wenn ich lache und weine?” etc. Schummel is stigmatized as a childish imitator and his book is censured as “beneath criticism,” oddly enough the very judgment its own author accords but a few weeks later on the completion of the third volume. The review contains several citations illustrative of Schummel’s style.

The first two parts were reviewed in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek.16 The length of the review is testimony to the interest in the book, and the tone of the article, though frankly unfavorable, is not so emphatically censorious as the one first noted. It is observed that Schummel has attempted the impossible,—the adoption of another’s “Laune,” and hence his failure. The reviewer notes, often with generous quotations, the more noticeable, direct imitations from Sterne, the conversation of the emotions, the nettle-plucking at the grave, the eccentric orthography and the new-coined words. Several passages of 127 comment or comparison testify to the then current admiration of Yorick, and the conventional German interpretation of his character; “sein gutes, empfindungsvolles Herz, mit Tugend und sittlichem Gefühl erfüllt.” The review is signed “Sr:”17

A critic in the Jenaische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen for January 17, 1772, treating the first two volumes, expresses the opinion that Jacobi, the author of the “Tagereise,” and Schummel have little but the title from Yorick. The author’s seeking for opportunity to dissolve in emotion is contrasted unfavorably with Yorick’s method, the affected style is condemned, yet it is admitted that the work promises better things from its talented author; his power of observation and his good heart are not to be unacknowledged. The severity of the review is directed against the imitators already arising.

The Magazin der deutschen Critik18 reviews the third volume with favorable comment; the comedy which Schummel saw fit to insert is received with rather extraordinary praise, and the author is urged to continue work in the drama; a desire is expressed even for a fourth part. The Hamburgische Neue Zeitung, June 4 and October 29, 1771, places Schummel unhesitatingly beside the English master, calls him as original as his pattern, to Sterne belongs the honor only of the invention. The author is hailed as a genius whose talents should be supported, so that Germany would not have to envy England her Yorick.19

After Schummel’s remarkable self-chastisement, one could hardly expect to find in his subsequent works evidence of Sterne’s influence, save as unconsciously a dimmed admiration might exert a certain force. Probably contemporaneous with the composition of the third volume of the work, but possibly earlier, Schummel wrote the fourth part of a ponderous novel by a fellow Silesian, Christian Opitz, entitled “Die Gleichheit der menschlichen Herzen, bey der Ungleichheit ihrer äusserlichen Umstände in der Geschichte Herrn Redlichs 128 und seiner Bedienten.” Goedeke implies that Opitz was the author of all but the last part, but the reviewer in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek20 maintains that each part has a different author, and quotes the preface to the fourth as substantiation. According to this review both the second and fourth parts are characterized by a humorous fashion in writing, and the last is praised as being the best of the four. It seems probable that Schummel’s enthusiasm for Sterne played its part in the composition of this work.

Possibly encouraged by the critic’s approbation, Schummel devoted his literary effort for the following years largely to the drama. In 1774 he published his “Uebersetzer-Bibliothek zum Gebrauche der Uebersetzer, Schulmänner und Liebhaber der alten Litteratur.” The reviewer21 in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek finds passages in this book in which the author of the “Empfindsame Reisen” is visible,—where his fancy runs away with his reason,—and a passage is quoted in which reference is made to Slawkenberg’s book on noses. It would seem that the seeking for wit survived the crude sentimentality.

Two years later Schummel published “Fritzen’s Reise nach Dessau,”22 a work composed of letters from a twelve-year old boy, written on a journey from Magdeburg to Dessau. The letters are quite without whim or sentiment, and the book has been remembered for the extended description of Basedow’s experimental school, “Philantropin” (opened in 1774). Its account has been the source of the information given of this endeavor in some pedagogical treatises23 and it was re-issued, as a document in the history of pedagogical experiment, in Leipzig, by Albert Richter in 1891. About fifteen years later still the “Reise durch 129 Schlesien”24 was issued. It is a simple narrative of a real journey with description of places and people, frankly personal, almost epistolary in form, without a suggestion of Sterne-like whim or sentiment. One passage is significant as indicating the author’s realization of his change of attitude. The sight of a group of prisoners bound by a chain calls to his memory his former sentimental extravagance, and he exclaims: “Twenty years ago, when I was still a sentimental traveler, I would have wasted many an ‘Oh’ and ‘alas’ over this scene; at present, since I have learned to know the world and mankind somewhat more intimately, I think otherwise.”

Johann Christian Bock (1724–1785), who was in 1772 theater-poet of the Ackerman Company in Hamburg, soon after the publication of the Sentimental Journey, identified himself with the would-be Yoricks by the production of “Die Tagereise,” which was published at Leipzig in 1770. The work was re-issued in 1775 with the new title “Die Geschichte eines empfundenen Tages.”25 The only change in the new edition was the addition of a number of copperplate engravings. The book is inspired in part by Sterne directly, and in part indirectly through the intermediary Jacobi. Unlike the work of Schummel just treated, it betrays no Shandean influence, but is dependent solely on the Sentimental Journey. In outward form the book resembles Jacobi’s “Winterreise,” since verse is introduced to vary the prose narrative. The attitude of the author toward his journey, undertaken with conscious purpose, is characteristic of the whole set of emotional sentiment-seekers, who found in their Yorick a challenge to go and do likewise: “Everybody is journeying, I thought, and took Yorick and Jacobi with me. . . . I will really see whether I too may not chance upon a fille de chambre or a harvest-maid,” is a very significant statement of his inspiration and intention. Once started on his journey, the author falls in with a poor warrior-beggar, an adaptation of Sterne’s Chevalier de St. Louis,26 and he puts in 130 verse Yorick’s expressed sentiment that the king and the fatherland should not allow the faithful soldier to fall into such distress.

Bock’s next sentimental adventure is with a fair peasant-maid whom he sees weeping by the wayside. Through Yorick-like insistence of sympathy, he finally wins from her information concerning the tender situation: a stern stepfather, an unwelcome suitor of his choosing, and a lover of her own. Her inability to write and thus communicate with the latter is the immediate cause of the present overflow. The traveler beholds in this predicament a remarkable sentimental opportunity and offers his services; he strokes her cheek, her tears are dried, and they part like brother and sister. The episode is unquestionably inspired by the episode of Maria of Moulines; in the latter development of the affair, the sentiment, which is expressed, that the girl’s innocence is her own defense is borrowed directly from Yorick’s statement concerning the fille de chambre.27 The traveler’s questioning of his own motives in “Die Ueberlegung”28 is distinctly Sterne-like, and it demonstrates also Bock’s appreciation of this quizzical element in Yorick’s attitude toward his own sentimental behavior. The relation of man to the domestic animals is treated sentimentally in the episode of the old beggar and his dead dog:29 the tears of the beggar, his affection for the beast, their genuine comradeship, and the dog’s devotion after the world had forsaken his master, are all part and parcel of that fantastic humane movement which has its source in Yorick’s dead ass. Bock practically confesses his inspiration by direct allusion to the episode in Yorick. Bock defends with warmth the old peasant and his grief.

The wanderer’s acquaintance with the lady’s companion30 is adapted from Yorick’s fille de chambre connection, and Bock cannot avoid a fleshly suggestion, distinctly in the style of Yorick in the section, the “Spider.”31 The return journey in 131 the sentimental moonlight affords the author another opportunity for the exercise of his broad human sympathy: he meets a poor woman, a day-laborer with her child, gives them a few coins and doubts whether king or bishop could be more content with the benediction of the apostolic chair than he with the blessing of this unfortunate,—a sentiment derived from Yorick’s overcolored veneration for the horn snuff-box.

The churchyard scene with which the journey ends is more openly fanciful, down-right visionary in tone, but the manner is very emphatically not that of Sterne, though in the midst the Sterne motif of nettle-plucking is introduced. This sentimental episode took hold of German imagination with peculiar force. The hobby-horse idea also was sure of its appeal, and Bock did not fail to fall under its spell.32

But apart from the general impulse and borrowing of motif from the foreign novel, there is in this little volume considerable that is genuine and original: the author’s German patriotism, his praise of the old days in the Fatherland in the chapter entitled “Die Gaststube,” his “Trinklied eines Deutschen,” his disquisition on the position of the poet in the world (“ein eignes Kapitel”), and his adulation of Gellert at the latter’s grave. The reviewer in the Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften33 chides the unnamed, youthful author for not allowing his undeniable talents to ripen to maturity, for being led on by Jacobi’s success to hasten his exercises into print. In reality Bock was no longer youthful (forty-six) when the “Tagereise” was published. The Almanach der deutschen Musen for 1771, calls the book “an unsuccessful imitation of Yorick and Jacobi,” and wishes that this “Rhapsodie von Cruditäten” might be the last one thrust on the market as a “Sentimental Journey.” The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek34 comments also on the double inspiration, and the insufficiency and tiresomeness of the performance. And yet Boie35 says the papers praised the little book; for himself, however, he 132 observes, he little desires to read it, and adds “What will our Yoricks yet come to? At last they will get pretty insignificant, I think, if they keep on this way.”

Bock was also the author of a series of little volumes written in the early seventies, still under the sentimental charm: (1) Empfindsame Reise durch die Visitenzimmer am Neujahrstag von einem deutschen Yorick angestellt, Cosmopolis (Hamburg) 1771—really published at the end of the previous year; (2) . . . am Ostertage, 1772; (3) Am Pfingsttage, 1772; (4) Am Johannistage, 1773; (5) Am Weynachtstage, 1773. These books were issued anonymously, and Schröder’s Lexicon gives only (2) and (3) under Bock’s name, but there seems no good reason to doubt his authorship of them all. Indeed, his claim to (1) is, according to the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen, well-nigh proven by an allusion to the “Tagereise” in the introduction, and by the initials signed. None of them are given by Goedeke. The books are evidently only in a general way dependent on the Sterne model, and are composed of observations upon all sorts of subjects, the first section of each volume bearing some relation to the festival in which they appear.

In the second edition of the first volume the author confesses that the title only is derived from Yorick,36 and states that he was forced to this misuse because no one at that time cared to read anything but “Empfindsame Reisen.” It is also to be noted that the description beneath the title, “von einem deutschen Yorick angestellt,” is omitted after the first volume. The review of (4) and (5) in the Altonaer Reichs-Postreuter finds this a commendable resumption of proper humility. The observations are evidently loosely strung together without the pretense of a narrative, such as “Allgemeines Perspectiv durch alle Visitenzimmer, Empfindsamer Neujahrswunsch, Empfindsame Berechnung eines Weisen mit sich selbst, Empfindsame Entschlüsse, Empfindsame Art sein Geld gut unterzubringen,” etc.37 An obvious purpose inspires the writer, the furthering of morality and virtue; many of the 133 meditations are distinctly religious. That some of the observations had a local significance in Hamburg, together with the strong sentimental tendency there, may account for the warm reception by the Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent.38

Some contemporary critics maintained a kinship between Matthias Claudius and Yorick-Sterne, though nothing further than a similarity of mental and emotional fibre is suggested. No one claimed an influence working from the English master. Even as late as 1872, Wilhelm Röseler in his introductory poem to a study of “Matthias Claudius und sein Humor”39 calls Asmus, “Deutschland’s Yorick,” thereby agreeing almost verbally with the German correspondent of the Deutsches Museum, who wrote from London nearly a hundred years before, September 14, 1778, “Asmus . . . is the German Sterne,” an assertion which was denied by a later correspondent, who asserts that Claudius’s manner is very different from that of Sterne.40

August von Kotzebue, as youthful narrator, betrays a dependence on Sterne in his strange and ingeniously contrived tale, “Die Geschichte meines Vaters, oder wie es zuging, dass ich gebohren wurde.”41 The influence of Sterne is noticeable in the beginning of the story: he commences with a circumstantial account of his grandfather and grandmother, and the circumstances of his father’s birth. The grandfather is an original undoubtedly modeled on lines suggested by Sterne’s hobby-horse idea. He had been chosen in days gone by to greet the reigning prince on the latter’s return from a journey, and the old man harks back to this circumstance with “hobby-horsical” persistence, whatever the subject of conversation, 134 even as all matters led Uncle Toby to military fortification, and the elder Shandy to one of his pet theories.

In Schrimps the servant, another Shandean original is designed. When the news comes of the birth of a son on Mount Vesuvius, master and man discuss multifarious and irrelevant topics in a fashion reminiscent of the conversation downstairs in the Shandy mansion while similar events are going on above. Later in the book we have long lists, or catalogues of things which resemble one of Sterne’s favorite mannerisms. But the greater part of the wild, adventurous tale is far removed from its inception, which presented domestic whimsicality in a gallery of originals, unmistakably connected with Tristram Shandy.

Göschen’s “Reise von Johann”42 is a product of the late renascence of sentimental journeying. Master and servant are represented in this book as traveling through southern Germany, a pair as closely related in head and heart as Yorick and La Fleur, or Captain Shandy and Corporal Trim. The style is of rather forced buoyancy and sprightliness, with intentional inconsequence and confusion, an attempt at humor of narration, which is choked by characteristic national desire to convey information, and a fatal propensity to description of places,43 even when some satirical purpose underlies the account, as in the description of Erlangen and its university. The servant Johann has mild adventures with the maids in the various inns, which are reminiscent of Yorick, and in one case it borders on the openly suggestive and more Shandean method.44 A distinctly borrowed motif is the accidental finding of papers which contain matters of interest. This is twice resorted to; a former occupant of the room in the inn in Nürnberg had left valuable notes of travel; and Johann, meeting a ragged woman, bent on self-destruction, takes from her a box with papers, disclosing a revolting story, baldly told. German mediocrity, imitating Yorick in this regard, and failing of his delicacy and subtlety, brought forth hideous offspring. An 135 attempt at whimsicality of style is apparent in the “Furth Catechismus in Frage und Antwort” (pp. 71–74), and genuinely sentimental adventures are supplied by the death-bed scene (pp. 70–71) and the village funeral (pp. 74–77).

This book is classed by Ebeling45 without sufficient reason as an imitation of von Thümmel. This statement is probably derived from the letter from Schiller to Goethe to which Ebeling refers in the following lines. Schiller is writing to Goethe concerning plans for the Xenien, December 29, 1795.46 The abundance of material for the Xenien project is commented upon with enthusiastic anticipation, and in a list of vulnerable possibilities we read: “Thümmel, Göschen als sein Stallmeister—” a collocation of names easily attributable, in consideration of the underlying satiric purpose, to the general nature of their work, without in any way implying the dependence of one author on another,47 or it could be interpreted as an allusion to the fact that Göschen was von Thümmel’s publisher. Nor is there anything in the correspondence to justify Ebeling’s harshness in saying concerning this volume of Göschen, that it “enjoyed the honor of being ridiculed (verhöhnt) in the Xenien-correspondence between Goethe and Schiller.” Goethe replies (December 30), in approval, and exclaims, “How fine Charis and Johann will appear beside one another.”48 The suggestion concerning a possible use of Göschen’s book in the Xenien was never carried out.

It will be remembered that Göschen submitted the manuscript of his book to Schiller, and that Schiller returned the same with the statement “that he had laughed heartily at some of the whims.”49 Garve, in a letter dated March 8, 1875, speaks of Göschen’s book in terms of moderate praise.50


The “Empfindsame Reise von Oldenburg nach Bremen,”51 the author of which was a Hanoverian army officer, H. J. C. Hedemann, is characterized by Ebeling as emphatically not inspired by Sterne.52 Although it is not a sentimental journey, as Schummel and Jacobi and Bock conceived it, and is thus not an example of the earliest period of imitation, and although it contains no passages of teary sentimentality in attitude toward man and beast, one must hesitate in denying all connection with Sterne’s manner. It would seem as if, having outgrown the earlier Yorick, awakened from dubious, fine-spun dreams of human brotherhood, perhaps by the rude clatter of the French revolution, certain would-be men of letters turned to Yorick again and saw, as through a glass darkly, that other element of his nature, and tried in lumbering, Teutonic way to adopt his whimsicality, shorn now of sentimentalism, and to build success for their wares on remembrance of a defaced idol. This view of later sentimental journeying is practically acknowledged at any rate in a contemporary review, the Allgemeine Litteratur-Zeitung for August 22, 1796, which remarks: “A sentimental voyage ist ein Quodlibet, wo einige bekannte Sachen und Namen gezwungenen Wiz und matten Scherz heben sollen.”53

Hedemann’s book is conspicuous in its effort to be whimsical and is openly satirical in regard to the sentimentalism of former travelers. His endeavor is markedly in Sterne’s manner in his attitude toward the writing of the book, his conversation about the difficulty of managing the material, his discussion with himself and the reader about the various parts of the book. Quite in Sterne’s fashion, and to be associated with Sterne’s frequent promises of chapters, and statements concerning embarrassment of material, is conceived his determination “to mention some things beforehand about which I don’t know anything to say,” and his rather humorous enumeration 137 of them. The author satirizes the real sentimental traveler of Sterne’s earlier imitators in the following passage (second chapter):

“It really must be a great misfortune, an exceedingly vexatious case, if no sentimental scenes occur to a sentimental traveler, but this is surely not the case; only the subjects, which offer themselves must be managed with strict economy. If one leaps over the most interesting events entirely, one is in danger, indeed, of losing everything, at least of not filling many pages.”

Likewise in the following account of a sentimental adventure, the satirical purpose is evident. He has not gone far on his journey when he is met by a troop of children; with unsentimental coldness he determines that there is a “Schlagbaum” in the way. After the children have opened the barrier, he debates with himself to which child to give his little coin, concludes, as a “sentimental traveler,” to give it to the other sex, then there is nothing left to do but to follow his instinct. He reflects long with himself whether he was right in so doing,—all of which is a deliberate jest at the hesitation with reference to trivial acts, the self-examination with regard to the minutiae of past conduct, which was copied by Sterne’s imitators from numerous instances in the works of Yorick. Satirical also is his vision in Chapter VII, in which he beholds the temple of stupidity where lofty stupidity sits on a paper throne; and of particular significance here is the explanation that the whole company who do “erhabene Dummheit” honor formerly lived in cities of the kingdom, but “now they are on journeys.” Further examples of a humorous manner akin to Sterne are: his statement that it would be a “great error” to write an account of a journey without weaving in an anecdote of a prince, his claim that he has fulfilled all duties of such a traveler save to fall in love, his resolve to accomplish it, and his formal declaration: “I, the undersigned, do vow and make promise to be in love before twenty-four hours are past.” The story with which his volume closes, “Das Ständchen,” is rather entertaining and is told graphically, easily, without 138 whim or satire, yet not without a Sternian double entendre.54

Another work in which sentimentalism has dwindled away to a grinning shade, and a certain irresponsible, light-hearted attitude is the sole remaining connection with the great progenitor, is probably the “Empfindsame Reise nach Schilda” (Leipzig, 1793), by Andreas Geo. Fr. von Rabenau, which is reviewed in the Allgemeine Litteratur-Zeitung (1794, I, p. 416) as a free revision of an old popular tale, “Das lustige und lächerliche Lalenburg.” The book is evidently without sentimental tinge, is a merry combination of wit and joke combined with caricature and half-serious tilting against unimportant literary celebrities.55

Certain miscellaneous works, which are more or less obviously connected with Sterne may be grouped together here.

To the first outburst of Sterne enthusiasm belongs an anonymous product, “Zween Tage eines Schwindsüchtigen, etwas Empfindsames,” von L. . . . (Hamburg, 1772), yet the editor admits that the sentiment is “not entirely like Yorick’s,” and the Altonaer Reichs-Postreuter (July 2, 1772) adds that “not at all like Yorick’s” would have been nearer the truth. This book is mentioned by Hillebrand with implication that it is the extreme example of the absurd sentimental tendency, probably judging merely from the title,56 for the book is doubtless merely thoughtful, contemplative, with a minimum of overwrought feeling.

According to the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen (1775, pp. 592–3), another product of the earlier seventies, the “Leben und Schicksale des Martin Dickius,” by Johann Moritz Schwager, is in many places a clever imitation of Sterne,57 although the author claims, like Wezel in “Tobias Knaut,” not to have read Shandy until after the book was written. Surely 139 the digression on noses which the author allows himself is suspicious.

Blankenburg, the author of the treatise on the novel to which reference has been made, was regarded by contemporary and subsequent criticism as an imitator of Sterne in his oddly titled novel “Beyträge zur Geschichte des teutschen Reiches und teutscher Sitten,”58 although the general tenor of his essay, in reasonableness and balance, seemed to promise a more independent, a more competent and felicitous performance. Kurz expresses this opinion, which may have been derived from criticisms in the eighteenth century journals. The Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen, July 28, 1775, does not, however, take this view; but seems to be in the novel a genuine exemplification of the author’s theories as previously expressed.59 The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek60 calls the book didactic, a tract against certain essentially German follies. Merck, in the Teutscher Merkur,61 says the imitation of Sterne is quite too obvious, though Blankenburg denies it.

Among miscellaneous and anonymous works inspired directly by Sterne, belongs undoubtedly “Die Geschichte meiner Reise nach Pirmont” (1773), the author of which claims that it was written before Yorick was translated or Jacobi published. He says he is not worthy to pack Yorick’s bag or weave Jacobi’s arbor,62 but the review of the Almanach der deutschen Musen evidently regards it as a product, nevertheless, of Yorick’s impulse. Kuno Ridderhoff in his study of Frau la Roche63 says that the “Empfindsamkeit” of Rosalie in the first part of “Rosaliens Briefe” is derived from Yorick. The “Leben, Thaten und Meynungen des D. J. Pet. Menadie” (Halle, 1777–1781) is charged by the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek with attempt at Shandy-like eccentricity of narrative and love of digression.64


One little volume, unmistakably produced under Yorick’s spell, is worthy of particular mention because at its time it received from the reviewers a more cordial welcome than was accorded to the rank and file of Sentimental Journeys. It is “M . . . R . . .” by E. A. A. von Göchhausen (1740–1824), which was published at Eisenach, 1772, and was deemed worthy of several later editions. Its dependence on Sterne is confessed and obvious, sometimes apologetically and hesitatingly, sometimes defiantly. The imitation of Sterne is strongest at the beginning, both in outward form and subject-matter, and this measure of indebtedness dwindles away steadily as the book advances. Göchhausen, as other imitators, used at the outset a modish form, returned to it consciously now and then when once under way, but when he actually had something to say, a message of his own, found it impracticable or else forgot to follow his model.

The absurd title stands, of course, for “Meine Reisen” and the puerile abbreviation as well as the reasons assigned for it, were intended to be a Sterne-like jest, a pitiful one. Why Goedeke should suggest “Meine Randglossen” is quite inexplicable, since Göchhausen himself in the very first chapter indicates the real title. Beneath the enigmatical title stands an alleged quotation from Shandy: “Ein Autor borgt, bettelt und stiehlt so stark von dem andern, dass bey meiner Seele! die Originalität fast so rar geworden ist als die Ehrlichkeit.”65 The book itself, like Sterne’s Journey, is divided into brief chapters unnumbered but named. As the author loses Yorick from sight, the chapters grow longer. Göchhausen has availed himself of an odd device to disarm criticism,—a plan used once or twice by Schummel: occasionally when the imitation is obvious, he repudiates the charge sarcastically, or anticipates with irony the critics’ censure. For example, he gives directions to his servant Pumper to pack for the journey; a reader exclaims, “a portmanteau, Mr. Author, so that everything, even to that, shall be just like Yorick,” and in the following passage the author quarrels with the critics who allow no one to travel with a portmanteau, because an English 141 clergyman traveled with one. Pumper’s misunderstanding of this objection is used as a farther ridicule of the critics. When on the journey, the author converses with two poor wandering monks, whose conversation, at any rate, is a witness to their content, the whole being a legacy of the Lorenzo episode, and the author entitles the chapter: “The members of the religious order, or, as some critics will call it, a wretchedly unsuccessful imitation.” In the next chapter, “Der Visitator” (pp. 125 ff.) in which the author encounters customs annoyances, the critic is again allowed to complain that everything is stolen from Yorick, a protest which is answered by the author quite naïvely, “Yorick journeyed, ate, drank; I do too.” In “Die Pause” the author stands before the inn door and fancies that a number of spies (Ausspäher) stand there waiting for him; he protests that Yorick encountered beggars before the inn in Montreuil, a very different sort of folk. On page 253 he exclaims, “für diesen schreibe ich dieses Kapitel nicht und ich—beklage ihn!” Here a footnote suggests “Das übrige des Diebstahls vid. Yorick’s Gefangenen.” Similarly when he calls his servant his “La Fleur,” he converses with the critics about his theft from Yorick.

The book is opened by a would-be whimsical note, the guessing about the name of the book. The dependence upon Sterne, suggested by the motto, is clinched by reference to this quotation in the section “Apologie,” and by the following chapter, which is entitled “Yorick.” The latter is the most unequivocal and, withal, the most successful imitation of Yorick’s manner which the volume offers. The author is sitting on a sofa reading the Sentimental Journey, and the idea of such a trip is awakened in him. Someone knocks and the door is opened by the postman, as the narrator is opening his “Lorenzodose,” and the story of the poor monk is touching his heart now for the twentieth time as strongly as ever. The postman asks postage on the letter as well as his own trivial fee. The author counts over money, miscounts it, then in counting forgets all about it, puts the money away and continues the reading of Yorick. The postman interrupts him; the author grows impatient and says, “You want four groschen?” and is inexplicably 142 vexed at the honesty of the man who says it is only three pfennigs for himself and the four groschen for the post. Here is a direct following of the Lorenzo episode; caprice rules his behavior toward an inferior, who is modest in his request. After the incident, his spite, his head and his heart and his “ich” converse in true Sterne fashion as to the advisability of his beginning to read Yorick again. He reasons with himself concerning his conduct toward the postman, then in an apostrophe to Yorick he condemns himself for failing in this little test. This conversation occupies so much time that he cannot run after the postman, but he resolves that nothing, not even the fly that lights on his nose, shall bring him so far as to forget wherefore his friend J . . . . sent him a “Lorenzodose.” And at the end of the section there is a picture of the snuff-box with the lid open, disclosing the letters of the word “Yorick.” The “Lorenzodose” is mentioned later, and later still the author calms his indignation by opening the box; he fortifies himself also by a look at the treasure.66

Following this picture of the snuff-box is an open letter to “My dear J . . . ,” who, at the author’s request, had sent him on June 29th a “Lorenzodose.” Jacobi’s accompanying words are given. The author acknowledges the difficulty with which sometimes the self-conquest demanded by allegiance to the sentimental symbol has been won.

Yet, compared with some other imitations of the good Yorick, the volume contains but a moderate amount of lavish sentiment. The servant Pumper is a man of feeling, who grieves that the horses trod the dewdrops from the blades of grass. Cast in the real Yorick mould is the scene in which Pumper kills a marmot (Hamster); upon his master’s expostulation that God created the little beast also, Pumper is touched, wipes the blood off with his cuff and buries the animal with tenderness, indulging in a pathetic soliloquy; the whole being a variant of Yorick’s ass episode.

Marked with a similar vein of sentimentality is the narrator’s conduct toward the poor wanderer with his heavy burden: the author asserts that he has never eaten a roll, put on 143 a white shirt, traveled in a comfortable carriage, or been borne by a strong horse, without bemoaning those who were less fortunately circumstanced. A similar and truly Sterne-like triumph of feeling over convention is the traveler’s insistence that Pumper shall ride with him inside the coach; seemingly a point derived from Jacobi’s failure to be equally democratic.67

Sterne’s emphasis upon the machinery of his story-telling, especially his distraught pretense at logical sequence in the ordering of his material is here imitated. For example: near the close of a chapter the author summons his servant Pumper, but since the chapter bore the title “Der Brief” and the servant can neither read nor write a letter, he says the latter has nothing to do in that chapter, but he is to be introduced in the following one. Yet with Yorick’s inconsequence, the narrator is led aside and exclaims at the end of this chapter, “But where is Pumper?” with the answer, “Heaven and my readers know, it was to no purpose that this chapter was so named (and perhaps this is not the last one to which the title will be just as appropriate)”, and the next chapter pursues the whimsical attempt, beginning “As to whether Pumper will appear in this chapter, about that, dear reader, I am not really sure myself.”

The whimsical, unconventional interposition of the reader, and the author’s reasoning with him, a Sterne device, is employed so constantly in the book as to become a wearying mannerism. Examples have already been cited, additional ones are numerous: the fifth section is devoted to such conversation with the reader concerning the work; later the reader objects to the narrator’s drinking coffee without giving a chapter about it; the reader is allowed to express his wonder as to what the chapter is going to be because of the author’s leap; the reader guesses where the author can be, when he begins to describe conditions in the moon. The chapter “Der Einwurf” is occupied entirely with the reader’s protest, and the last two sections are largely the record of fancied conversations with various readers concerning the nature of the book; here the author discloses himself.68 Sterne-like whim is found in the 144 chapter “Die Nacht,” which consists of a single sentence: “Ich schenke Ihnen diesen ganzen Zeitraum, denn ich habe ihn ruhig verschlafen.” Similar Shandean eccentricity is illustrated by the chapter entitled “Der Monolog,” which consists of four lines of dots, and the question, “Didn’t you think all this too, my readers?” Typographical eccentricity is observed also in the arrangement of the conversation of the ladies A., B., C., D., etc., in the last chapter. Like Sterne, our author makes lists of things; probably inspired by Yorick’s apostrophe to the “Sensorium” is our traveler’s appeal to the spring of joy. The description of the fashion of walking observed in the maid in the moon is reminiscent of a similar passage in Schummel’s journey.

Göchhausen’s own work, untrammeled by outside influence, is considerable, largely a genial satire on critics and philosophers; his stay in the moon is a kind of Utopian fancy.

The literary journals accepted Göchhausen’s work as a Yorick imitation, condemned it as such apologetically, but found much in the book worthy of their praise.69

Probably the best known novel which adopts in considerable measure the style of Tristram Shandy is Wezel’s once famous “Tobias Knaut,” the “Lebensgeschichte Tobias Knauts des Weisen sonst Stammler genannt, aus Familiennachrichten gesammelt.”70 In this work the influence of Fielding is felt parallel to that of Sterne. The historians of literature all accord the book a high place among humorous efforts of the period, crediting the author with wit, narrative ability, knowledge of human nature and full consciousness of plan and purpose.71 They unite also in the opinion that “Tobias Knaut” places Wezel in the ranks of Sterne imitators, but this can be accepted only guardedly, for in part the novel must be regarded as a satire on “Empfindsamkeit” and hence in some measure be classified as an opposing force to Sterne’s dominion, 145 especially to the distinctively German Sterne. That this impulse, which later became the guiding principle of “Wilhelmine Arend,” was already strong in “Tobias Knaut” is hinted at by Gervinus, but passed over in silence by other writers. Kurz, following Wieland, who reviewed the novel in his Merkur, finds that the influence of Sterne was baneful. Other contemporary reviews deplored the imitation as obscuring and stultifying the undeniable and genuinely original talents of the author.72

A brief investigation of Wezel’s novel will easily demonstrate his indebtedness to Sterne. Yet Wezel in his preface, anticipating the charge of imitation, asserts that he had not read Shandy when “Tobias” was begun. Possibly he intends this assertion as a whim, for he quotes Tristram at some length.73 This inconsistency is occasion for censure on the part of the reviewers.

Wezel’s story begins, like Shandy, “ab ovo,” and, in resemblance to Sterne’s masterpiece, the connection between the condition of the child before its birth and its subsequent life and character is insisted upon. A reference is later made to this. The work is episodical and digressive, but in a more extensive way than Shandy; the episodes in Sterne’s novel are yet part and parcel of the story, infused with the personality of the writer, and linked indissolubly to the little family of originals whose sayings and doings are immortalized by Sterne. This is not true of Wezel: his episodes and digressions are much more purely extraneous in event, and nature of interest. The story of the new-found son, which fills sixty-four pages, is like a story within a story, for its connection with the Knaut family is very remote. This very story, interpolated as it is, is itself again interrupted by a seven-page digression concerning Tyrus, Alexander, Pipin and Charlemagne, which the author states is taken from the one hundred and twenty-first chapter of his “Lateinische Pneumatologie,”—a genuine Sternian pretense, reminding one of the “Tristrapaedia.” Whimsicality of manner distinctly reminiscent 146 of Sterne is found in his mock-scientific catalogues or lists of things, as in Chapter III, “Deduktionen, Dissertationen, Argumentationen a priori und a posteriori,” and so on; plainly adapted from Sterne’s idiosyncrasy of form is the advertisement which in large red letters occupies the middle of a page in the twenty-first chapter of the second volume, which reads as follows: “Dienst-freundliche Anzeige. Jedermann, der an ernsten Gesprächen keinen Gefallen findet, wird freundschaftlich ersucht alle folgende Blätter, deren Inhalt einem Gespräche ähnlich sieht, wohlbedächtig zu überschlagen, d.h. von dieser Anzeige an gerechnet. Darauf denke ich, soll jedermanniglich vom. 22Absatze fahren können,—Cuique Suum.” The following page is blank: this is closely akin to Sterne’s vagaries. Like Sterne, he makes promise of chapter-subject.74 Similarly dependent on Sterne’s example, is the Fragment in Chapter VIII, Volume III, which breaks off suddenly under the plea that the rest could not be found. Like Sterne, our author satirizes detailed description in the excessive account of the infinitesimals of personal discomfort after a carouse.75 He makes also obscure whimsical allusions, accompanied by typographical eccentricities (I, p. 153). To be connected with the story of the Abbess of Andouillets is the humor “Man leuterirte, appelirte—irte,—irte,—irte.”

The author’s perplexities in managing the composition of the book are sketched in a way undoubtedly derived from Sterne,—for example, the beginning of Chapter IX in Volume III is a lament over the difficulties of chronicling what has happened during the preceding learned disquisition. When Tobias in anger begins to beat his horse, this is accompanied by the sighs of the author, a really audible one being put in a footnote, the whole forming a whimsy of narrative style for which Sterne must be held responsible. Similar to this is the author’s statement (Chap. XXV, Vol. II), that Lucian, Swift, Pope, Wieland and all the rest could not unite the characteristics which had just been predicated of Selmann. Like Sterne, Wezel converses with the reader about 147 the way of telling the story, indulging76 in a mock-serious line of reasoning with meaningless Sternesque dashes. Further conversation with the reader is found at the beginning of Chapter III in Volume I, and in Chapter VIII of the first volume, he cries, “Wake up, ladies and gentlemen,” and continues at some length a conversation with these fancied personages about the progress of the book. Wezel in a few cases adopted the worst feature of Sterne’s work and was guilty of bad taste in precisely Yorick’s style: Tobias’s adventure with the so-called soldier’s wife, after he has run away from home, is a case in point, but the following adventure with the two maidens while Tobias is bathing in the pool is distinctly suggestive of Fielding. Sterne’s indecent suggestion is also followed in the hints at the possible occasion of the Original’s aversion to women. A similar censure could be spoken regarding the adventure in the tavern,77 where the author hesitates on the edge of grossness.

Wezel joined other imitators of Yorick in using as a motif the accidental interest of lost documents, or papers: here the poems of the “Original,” left behind in the hotel, played their rôle in the tale. The treatment of the wandering boy by the kindly peasant is clearly an imitation of Yorick’s famous visit in the rural cottage. A parallel to Walter Shandy’s theory of the dependence of great events on trifles is found in the story of the volume of Tacitus, which by chance suggested the sleeping potion for Frau v. L., or that Tobias’s inability to take off his hat with his right hand was influential on the boy’s future life. This is a reminder of Tristram’s obliquity in his manner of setting up his top. As in Shandy, there is a discussion about the location of the soul. The character of Selmann is a compound of Yorick and the elder Shandy, with a tinge of satiric exaggeration, meant to chastise the thirst for “originals” and overwrought sentimentalism. His generosity and sensitiveness to human pain is like Yorick. As a boy he would empty his purse into the bosom of a poor man; but his daily life was one round of Shandean speculation, largely 148 about the relationships of trivial things: for example, his yearly periods of investigating his motives in inviting his neighbors Herr v. ** and Herr v. *** every July to his home.

Wezel’s satire on the craze for originality is exemplified in the account of the “Original” (Chap. XXII, Vol. II), who was cold when others were hot, complained of not liking his soup because the plate was not full, but who threw the contents of his coffee cup at the host because it was filled to the brim, and trembled at the approach of a woman. Selmann longs to meet such an original. Selmann also thinks he has found an original in the inn-keeper who answers everything with “Nein,” greatly to his own disadvantage, though it turns out later that this was only a device planned by another character to gain advantage over Selmann himself. So also, in the third volume, Selmann and Tobias ride off in pursuit of a sentimental adventure, but the latter proves to be merely a jest of the Captain at the expense of his sentimental friend. Satire on sentimentalism is further unmistakable in the two maidens, Adelheid and Kunigunde, who weep over a dead butterfly, and write a lament over its demise. In jest, too, it is said that the Captain made a “sentimental journey through the stables.” The author converses with Ermindus, who seems to be a kind of Eugenius, a convenient figure for reference, apostrophe, and appeal. The novelist makes also, like Sterne, mock-pedantic allusions, once indeed making a long citation from a learned Chinese book. An expression suggesting Sterne is the oath taken “bey den Nachthemden aller Musen,”78 and an intentional inconsequence of narration, giving occasion to conversation regarding the author’s control of his work, is the sudden passing over of the six years which Tobias spent in Selmann’s house.79

In connection with Wezel’s occupation with Sterne and Sterne products in Germany, it is interesting to consider his poem: “Die unvermuthete Nachbarschaft. Ein Gespräch,” 149 which was the second in a volume of three poems entitled “Epistel an die deutschen Dichter,” the name of the first poem, and published in Leipzig in 1775. This slight work is written for the most part in couplets and covers twenty-three pages. Wezel represents Doktor Young, the author of the gloomy “Night Thoughts” and “Der gute Lacher,—Lorenz Sterne” as occupying positions side by side in his book-case. This proximity gives rise to a conversation between the two antipodal British authors: Sterne says:

“Wir brauchen beide vielen Raum,

Your Reverence viel zum Händeringen,

Und meine Wenigkeit, zum Pfeifen, Tanzen, Singen.”

and later,

. . . “Und will von Herzen gern der Thor der Thoren seyn;

Jüngst that ich ernst: gleich hielt die

Narrheit mich beym Rocke.

Wo, rief sie, willst du hin,—Du! weisst du unsern Bund.

Ist das der Dank? Du lachtest dich gesund.”

To Sterne’s further enunciation of this joyous theory of life, Young naturally replies in characteristic terms, emphasizing life’s evanescence and joy’s certain blight. But Sterne, though acknowledging the transitoriness of life’s pleasures, denies Young’s deductions. Yorick’s conception of death is quite in contrast to Young’s picture and one must admit that it has no justification in Sterne’s writings. On the contrary, Yorick’s life was one long flight from the grim enemy. The idea of death cherished by Asmus in his “Freund Hein,” the welcome guest, seems rather the conception which Wezel thrusts on Sterne. Death comes to Yorick in full dress, a youth, a Mercury:

“Er thuts, er kommt zu mir, ‘Komm, guter Lorenz, flieh!’

So ruft er auf mich zu. ‘Dein Haus fängt an zu wanken,

Die Mauern spalten sich; Gewölb und Balken schwanken,

Was nuzt dir so ein Haus? . . .’”

so he takes the wreathèd cup, drinks joyfully, and follows death, embracing him.

“Das ist mein Tod, ich sehe keinen Knochen,

Womit du ihn, gleich einem Zahnarzt, schmückst,

Geschieht es heute noch, geschieht’s in wenig Wochen,


Dass du, Gevatter Tod, nur meine Hände drückst?

Ganz nach Bequemlichkeit! du bist mir zwar willkommen.”

The latter part of the poem contains a rather extended laudation of the part played by sympathetic feeling in the conduct of life.

That there would be those in Germany as in England, who saw in Sterne’s works only a mine of vulgar suggestion, a relation sometimes delicate and clever, sometimes bald and ugly, of the indelicate and sensual, is a foregone conclusion. Undoubtedly some found in the general approbation which was accorded Sterne’s books a sanction for forcing upon the public the products of their own diseased imaginations.

This pernicious influence of the English master is exemplified by Wegener’s “Raritäten, ein hinterlassenes Werk des Küsters von Rummelsberg.”80 The first volume is dedicated to “Sebaldus Nothanker,” and the long document claims for the author unusual distinction, in thus foregoing the possibility of reward or favor, since he dedicates his book to a fictitious personage. The idea of the book is to present “merry observations” for every day in the year. With the end of the fourth volume the author has reached March 17, and, according to the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, the sixth volume includes May 22. The present writer was unable to examine the last volume to discover whether the year was rounded out in this way.

The author claims to write “neither for surly Catos nor for those fond of vulgar jests and smutty books,” but for those who will laugh. At the close of his preface he confesses the source of his inspiration: “In order to inspire myself with something of the spirit of a Sterne, I made a decoction out of his writings and drank the same eagerly; indeed I have burned the finest passages to powder, and then partaken of it with warm English ale, but”—he had the insight and courtesy to add—“it helped me just a little as it aids a lame man, if he steps in the footprints of one who can walk nimbly.” The very nature of this author’s dependence on Sterne excludes 151 here any extended analysis of the connection. The style is abrupt, full of affected gaiety and raillery, conversational and journalistic. The stories, observations and reflections, in prose and verse, represent one and all the ribaldry of Sterne at its lowest ebb, as illustrated, for example, by the story of the abbess of Andouillets, but without the charm and grace with which that tale begins. The author copies Sterne in the tone of his lucubrations; the material is drawn from other sources. In the first volume, at any rate, his only direct indebtedness to Sterne is the introduction of the Shandean theory of noses in the article for January 11. The pages also, sometimes strewn with stars and dashes, present a somewhat Sternesque appearance.

These volumes are reviewed in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek81 with full appreciation of their pernicious influence, and with open acknowledgment that their success demonstrates a pervision of taste in the fatherland. The author of the “Litterarische Reise durch Deutschland”82 advises his sister, to whom his letters are directed, to put her handkerchief before her mouth at the very mention of Wegener, and fears that the very name has befouled his pen. A similar condemnation is meted out in Wieland’s Merkur.83

A similar commentary on contemporary taste is obtained from a somewhat similar collection of stories, “Der Geist der Romane im letzten Viertel des 18ten Jahrhunderts,” Breslau and Hirschberg, 1788, in which the author (S. G. Preisser?) claims to follow the spirit of the period and gives six stories of revolting sensuality, with a thin whitewash of teary sentimentalism.

The pursuit of references to Yorick and direct appeals to his writings in the German literary world of the century succeeding the era of his great popularity would be a monstrous and fruitless task. Such references in books, letters and periodicals 152 multiply beyond possibility of systematic study. One might take the works84 of Friedrich Matthison as a case in point. He visits the grave of Musäus, even as Tristram Shandy sought for the resting-place of the two lovers in Lyons (III, p. 312); as he travels in Italy, he remarks that a certain visit would have afforded Yorick’s “Empfindsamkeit” the finest material for an Ash-Wednesday sermon (IV, p. 67). Sterne’s expressions are cited: “Erdwasserball” for the earth (V, p. 57), “Wo keine Pflanze, die da nichts zu suchen hatte, eine bleibende Stäte fand” (V, p. 302); two farmsteads in the Tyrol are designated as “Nach dem Ideal Yoricks” (VI, pp. 24–25). He refers to the story of the abbess of Andouillets (VI, 64); he narrates (VIII, pp. 203–4) an anecdote of Sterne which has just been printed in the Adress-Comptoir-Nachrichten (1769, p. 151); he visits Prof. Levade in Lausanne, who bore a striking resemblance to Sterne (V, p. 279), and refers to Yorick in other minor regards (VII, 158; VIII, pp. 51, 77, and Briefe II, 76). Yet in spite of this evident infatuation, Matthison’s account of his own travels cannot be classed as an imitation of Yorick, but is purely objective, descriptive, without search for humor or pathos, with no introduction of personalities save friends and celebrities. Heinse alluded to Sterne frequently in his letters to Gleim (1770–1771),85 but after August 23, 1771, Sterne vanished from his fund of allusion, though the correspondence lasts until 1802, a fact of significance in dating the German enthusiasm for Sterne and the German knowledge of Shandy from the publication of the Sentimental Journey, and likewise an indication of the insecurity of Yorick’s personal hold.

Miscellaneous allusions to Sterne, illustrating the magnitude and duration of his popularity, may not be without interest: Kästner “Vermischte Schriften,” II, p. 134 (Steckenpferd); Lenz “Gesammelte Werke,” Berlin, 1828, Vol. III, p. 312; letter from the Duchess Amalie, August 2, 1779, in “Briefe an und von Merck,” Darmstadt, 1838; letter of Caroline Herder to Knebel, April 2, 1799, in “K. L. von Knebel’s Literarischer 153 Nachlass,” Leipzig, 1835, p. 324 (Yorick’s “heiliges Sensorium”); a rather unfavorable but apologetic criticism of Shandy in the “Hinterlassene Schriften” of Charlotta Sophia Sidonia Seidelinn, Nürnberg, 1793, p. 227; “Schiller’s Briefe,” edited by Fritz Jonas, I, pp. 136, 239; in Hamann’s letters, “Leben und Schriften,” edited by Dr. C. H. Gildermeister, Gotha, 1875, II, p. 338; III, p. 56; V, pp. 16, 163; in C. L. Jünger’s “Anlage zu einem Familiengespräch über die Physiognomik” in Deutsches Museum, II, pp. 781–809, where the French barber who proposes to dip Yorick’s wig in the sea is taken as a type of exaggeration. And a similar reference is found in Wieland’s Merkur, 1799, I, p. 15: Yorick’s Sensorium is again cited, Merkur, 1791, II, p. 95. Other references in the Merkur are: 1774, III, p. 52; 1791, I, p. 418; 1800, I, p. 14; 1804, I, pp. 19–21; Deutsches Museum, IV, pp. 66, 462; Neuer Gelehrter Mercurius, Altona, 1773, August 19, in review of Goethe’s “Götz;” Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1771, p. 93. And thus the references scatter themselves down the decades. “Das Wörtlein Und,” by F. A. Krummacher (Duisberg und Essen, 1811), bore a motto taken from the Koran, and contained the story of Uncle Toby and the fly with a personal application, and Yorick’s division of travelers is copied bodily and applied to critics. Friedrich Hebbel, probably in 1828, gave his Newfoundland dog the name of Yorick-Sterne-Monarch.86 Yorick is familiarly mentioned in Wilhelm Raabe’s “Chronik der Sperlingsgasse” (1857), and in Ernst von Wolzogen’s “Der Dornenweg,” two characters address one another in Yorick similes. Indeed, in the summer of 1902, a Berlin newspaper was publishing “Eine Empfindsame Reise in einem Automobile.”87

Musäus is named as an imitator of Sterne by Koberstein, 154 and Erich Schmidt implies in his “Richardson, Rousseau und Goethe,” that he followed Sterne in his “Grandison der Zweite,” which could hardly be possible, for “Grandison der Zweite” was first published in 1760, and was probably written during 1759, that is, before Sterne had published Tristram Shandy. Adolph von Knigge is also mentioned by Koberstein as a follower of Sterne, and Baker includes Knigge’s “Reise nach Braunschweig” and “Briefe auf einer Reise aus Lothringen” in his list. Their connection with Sterne cannot be designated as other than remote; the former is a merry vagabond story, reminding one much more of the tavern and way-faring adventures in Fielding and Smollett, and suggesting Sterne only in the constant conversation with the reader about the progress of the book and the mechanism of its construction. One example of the hobby-horse idea in this narration may perhaps be traced to Sterne. The “Briefe auf einer Reise aus Lothringen” has even less connection; it shares only in the increase of interest in personal accounts of travel. Knigge’s novels, “Peter Claus” and “Der Roman meines Lebens,” are decidedly not imitations of Sterne; a clue to the character of the former may be obtained from the fact that it was translated into English as “The German Gil Blas.” “Der Roman meines Lebens” is a typical eighteenth century love-story written in letters, with numerous characters, various intrigues and unexpected adventures; indeed, a part of the plot, involving the abduction of one of the characters, reminds one of “Clarissa Harlowe.” Sterne is, however, incidentally mentioned in both books, is quoted in “Peter Claus” (Chapter VI, Vol. II), and Walter Shandy’s theory of Christian names is cited in “Der Roman meines Lebens.”88 That Knigge had no sympathy with exaggerated sentimentalism is seen in a passage in his “Umgang mit Menschen.”89 Knigge admired and appreciated the real Sterne and speaks in his “Ueber Schriftsteller und Schriftstellerei”90 of Yorick’s sharpening observation regarding the little but yet important traits of character.


Moritz August von Thümmel in his famous “Reise in die mittäglichen Provinzen von Frankreich” adopted Sterne’s general idea of sentimental journeying, shorn largely of the capriciousness and whimsicality which marked Sterne’s pilgrimage. He followed Sterne also in driving the sensuous to the borderland of the sensual.

Hippel’s novels, “Lebensläufe nach aufsteigender Linie” and “Kreuz und Querzüge des Ritters A. bis Z.” were purely Shandean products in which a humor unmistakably imitated from Sterne struggles rather unsuccessfully with pedagogical seriousness. Jean Paul was undoubtedly indebted to Sterne for a part of his literary equipment, and his works afford proof both of his occupation with Sterne’s writings and its effect upon his own. A study of Hippel’s “Lebensläufe” in connection with both Sterne and Jean Paul was suggested but a few years after Hippel’s death by a reviewer in the Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften91 as a fruitful topic for investigation. A detailed, minute study of von Thümmel, Hippel and Jean Paul92 in connection with the English master is purposed as a continuation of the present essay. Heine’s pictures of travel, too, have something of Sterne in them.

1. Quellen und Forschungen, II, p. 27.

2. Jacobi remarked, in his preface to the “Winterreise” in the edition of 1807, that this section, “Der Taubenschlag” is not to be reckoned as bearing the trace of the then condemned “Empfindeley,” for many authors, ancient and modern, have taken up the cause of animals against man; yet Sterne is probably the source of Jacobi’s expression of his feeling.

3. XI, 2, pp. 16 f.

4. For reviews of the “Sommerreise” see Allg. deutsche Bibl., XIII, i, p. 261, Deutsche Bibl. der schönen Wissenschaften, IV, p. 354, and Neue Critische Nachrichten, Greifswald, V, p. 406. Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1770, p. 112. The “Winterreise” is also reviewed there, p. 110.

5. Some minor points may be noted. Longo implies (page 2) that it was Bode’s translation of the original Sentimental Journey which was re-issued in four volumes, Hamburg and Bremen, 1769, whereas the edition was practically identical with the previous one, and the two added volumes were those of Stevenson’s continuation. Longo calls Sterne’s Eliza “Elisha” (p. 28) and Tristram’s father becomes Sir Walter Shandy (p. 37), an unwarranted exaltation of the retired merchant.

6. Review in the Jenaische Zeitungen von Gel. Sachen

7. I, pp. 314 + 20; II, 337; III. 330.

8. I, p. 156; III, p. 318.

9. Schummel states this himself, III, p. 320.

10. Tristram Shandy, III, 51–54.

11. Pp. 256–265.

12. P. 34.

13. Shandy, I, p. 75; Schummel, I, p. 265.

14. II, p. 117.

15. In “Das Kapitel von meiner Lebensart,” II, pp. 113 ff.

16. XVI, 2, pp. 682–689.

17. The third part is reviewed (Hr) in XIX, 2, pp. 576–7, but without significant contribution to the question.

18. I, 2, pp. 66–74, the second number of 1772. Review is signed “S.”

19. Another review of Schummel’s book is found in the Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1773, p. 106.

20. XI, 2, p. 344; XV, 1, p. 249; XVII, 1, p. 244. Also entitled “Begebenheiten des Herrn Redlich,” the novel was published Wittenberg, 1756–71; Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1768–71.

21. XXVIII, 1, pp. 199 ff. Reviewed also in Auserlesene Bibliothek der neusten deutschen Litteratur, Lemgo, VII, p. 234 (1775) and Neue litterarische Unterhaltungen, Breslau, I, pp. 660–691.

22. Leipzig, Crusius, 1776, pp. 120. Baker, influenced by title and authorship, includes it among the literary progeny of Yorick. It has no connection with Sterne.

23. See Jahresberichte für neuere deutsche Litteratur-geschichte, II, p. 106 (1893).

24. Breslau, 1792. It is included in Baker’s list.

25. Frankfurt and Leipzig, pp. 208. Baker regards these two editions as two different works.

26. Sentimental Journey, pp. 87–88.

27. Sentimental Journey, p. 73.

28. Pp. 45–50.

29. Pp. 106–119.

30. Die Gesellschafterin, pp. 131–144.

31. Pp. 145–155.

32. Die Dame, pp. 120–130.

33. V, St. 2, p. 371.

34. Anhang to XIII-XXIV, Vol. II, p. 1151.

35. Letter to Raspe, Göttingen, June 2, 1770, in Weimarisches Jahrbuch, III, p. 28

36. Frankfurter Gel. Anz., April 27, 1773, pp. 276–8.

37. Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent, December 31, 1771.

38. Other reviews are (2) and (3), Frankfurter gel. Anz., November 27, 1772; (2) and (3), Allg. deutsche Bibl., XIX, 2, p. 579 (Musäus) and XXIV, 1, p. 287; of the series, Neue Critische Nachrichten (Greifswald), IX, p. 152. There is a rather full analysis of (1) in Frankfurter Gel. Anz., 1773, pp. 276–8, April 27. According to Wittenberg in the Altonaer Reichs-Postreuter (June 21, 1773), Holfrath Deinet was the author of this review. A sentimental episode from these “Journeys” was made the subject of a play called “Der Greis” and produced at Munich in 1774. (See Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXII, 2, p. 466).

39. Berlin, 1873.

40. Deutsches Museum, VI, p. 384, and VII, p. 220.

41. Reval und Leipzig, 1788, 2d edition, 1792, and published in “Kleine gesammelte Schriften,” Reval und Leipzig, 1789, Vol. III, pp. 131–292. Reviewed in Allg. Litt.-Zeitung, 1789, II, p. 736.

42. Leipzig, 1793, pp. 224, 8o, by Georg Joachim Göschen.

43. See the account of Ulm, and of Lindau near the end of the volume.

44. See pp. 21–22 and 105.

45. “Geschichte der komischen Literatur,” III, p. 625.

46. See “Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Schiller,” edited by Boxberger. Stuttgart, Spemann, Vol. I, p. 118.

47. It is to be noted also that von Thümmel’s first servant bears the name Johann.

48. “Charis oder über das Schöne und die Schönheit in den bildenden Künsten” by Ramdohr, Leipzig, 1793.

49. “Schiller’s Briefe,” edited by Fritz Jonas, III, pp. 316, 319. Letters of June 6 and June 23 (?), 1793.

50. “Briefe von Christian Garve an Chr. Felix Weisse, und einige andern Freunde,” Breslau, 1803, p. 189–190. The book was reviewed favorably by the Allg. Litt. Zeitung, 1794, IV, p. 513.

51. Falkenburg, 1796, pp. 110. Goedeke gives Bremen as place of publication.

52. Ebeling, III, p. 625, gives Hademann as author, and Fallenburg—both probably misprints.

53. The review is of “Auch Vetter Heinrich hat Launen, von G. L. B., Frankfurt-am-Main, 1796”—a book evidently called into being by a translation of selections from “Les Lunes du Cousin Jacques.” Jünger was the translator. The original is the work of Beffroy de Regny.

54. Hedemann’s book is reviewed indifferently in the Allg. Litt. Zeitung. (Jena, 1798, I, p. 173.)

55. Von Rabenau wrote also “Hans Kiekindiewelts Reise” (Leipzig, 1794), which Ebeling (III, p. 623) condemns as “the most commonplace imitation of the most ordinary kind of the comic.”

56. It is also reviewed by Musäus in the Allg. deutsche Bibl., XIX, 2, p. 579.

57. The same opinion is expressed in the Jenaische Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen, 1776, p. 465. See also Schwinger’s study of “Sebaldus Nothanker,” pp. 248–251; Ebeling, p. 584; Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXII, 1, p. 141.

58. Leipzig and Liegnitz, 1775.

59. The Leipziger Museum Almanach, 1776, pp. 69–70, agrees in this view.

60. XXIX, 2, p. 507.

61. 1776, I, p. 272.

62. An allusion to an episode of the “Sommerreise.”

63. “Sophie von la Roche,” Göttinger Dissertation, Einbeck, 1895.

64. Allg. deutsche Bibl., XLVII, 1, p. 435; LII, 1, p. 148, and Anhang, XXIV-XXXVI, Vol. II, p. 903–908.

65. The quotation is really from the spurious ninth volume in Zückert’s translation.

66. For these references to the snuff-box, see pp. 53, 132–3, 303 and 314.

67. In “Sommerreise.”

68. Other examples are found pp. 57, 90, 255, 270, 209, 312, 390, and elsewhere.

69. See Auserlesene Bibliothek der neuesten deutschen Litteratur, VII, p. 399; Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1775, p. 75; Magazin der deutschen Critik, III, 1, p. 174; Frankfurter Gel. Anz., July 1, 1774; Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXVI, 2, 487; Teut. Merkur, VI, p. 353; Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitungen, 1774, I, p. 17.

70. Leipzig, 1773–76, 4 vols. “Tobias Knaut” was at first ascribed to Wieland.

71. Gervinus, V, pp. 225 ff.; Ebeling, III, p. 568; Hillebrand, II, p. 537; Kurz, III, p. 504; Koberstein, IV, pp. 168 f. and V, pp. 94 f.

72. The “Magazin der deutschen Critik” denied the imitation altogether.

73. I, p. 178.

74. I, p. 117.

75. I, pp. 148 ff.

76. I, p. 17.

77. III, pp. 99–104.

78. II, p. 44.

79. For reviews of “Tobias Knaut” see Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitung, April 13, 1774, pp. 193–5; Magazin der deutschen Critik, III, 1, p. 185 (1774); Frankfurter Gel. Anz., April 5, 1774, pp. 228–30; Almanach der deutschen Musen, 1775, p. 75; Leipziger Musen-Almanach, 1776, pp. 68–69; Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXX, 2, pp. 524 ff., by Biester; Teut. Merkur, V, pp. 344–5; VII, p. 361–2, 1776, pp. 272–3, by Merck.

80. Berlin, nine parts, 1775–1785. Vol I, pp. 128 (1775); Vol. II, pp. 122; Vol. III, pp. 141; Vol. IV, pp. 198 (1779); Vols. V and VI, 1780; Vols. I and II were published in a new edition in 1778, and Vol. III in 1780 (a third edition).

81. XXIX, 1, p. 186; XXXVI, 2, p. 601; XLIII, 1, p. 301; XLVI, 2, p. 602; LXII, 1, p. 307.

82. See p. 8.

83. 1777, II, p. 278, review of Vols. II and III. Vol. I is reviewed in Frankfurter Gel. Anz., 1775, p. 719–20 (October 31), and IX in Allg. Litt.-Zeitung, Jena, 1785, V, Supplement-Band, p. 80.

84. See p. 89.

85. Briefe deutscher Gelehrten aus Gleims Nachlass. (Zürich, 1806.)

86. Emil Kuh’s life of Hebbel, Wien, 1877, I, p. 117–118.

87. The “Empfindsame Reise der Prinzessin Ananas nach Gros-glogau” (Riez, 1798, pp. 68, by Gräfin Lichterau?) in its revolting loathesomeness and satirical meanness is an example of the vulgarity which could parade under the name. In 1801 we find “Prisen aus der hörneren Dose des gesunden Menschenverstandes,” a series of letters of advice from father to son. A play of Stephanie the younger, “Der Eigensinnige,” produced January 29, 1774, is said to have connection with Tristram Shandy; if so, it would seem to be the sole example of direct adaptation from Sterne to the German stage. “Neue Schauspiele.” Pressburg and Leipzig, 1771–75, Vol. X.

88. P. 185, edition of 1805.

89. See below p. 166–7.

90. Hannover, 1792, pp. 80, 263.

91. LXVI, p. 79, 1801.

92. Sometime after the completion of this present essay there was published in Berlin, a study of “Sterne, Hippel and Jean Paul,” by J. Czerny (1904). I have not yet had an opportunity to examine it.



Sterne’s influence in Germany lived its own life, and gradually and imperceptibly died out of letters, as an actuating principle. Yet its dominion was not achieved without some measure of opposition. The sweeping condemnation which the soberer critics heaped upon the incapacities of his imitators has been exemplified in the accounts already given of Schummel, Bock and others. It would be interesting to follow a little more closely this current of antagonism. The tone of protest was largely directed, the edge of satire was chiefly whetted, against the misunderstanding adaptation of Yorick’s ways of thinking and writing, and only here and there were voices raised to detract in any way from the genius of Sterne. He never suffered in Germany such an eclipse of fame as was his fate in England. He was to the end of the chapter a recognized prophet, an uplifter and leader. The far-seeing, clear-minded critics, as Lessing, Goethe and Herder, expressed themselves quite unequivocally in this regard, and there was later no withdrawal of former appreciation. Indeed, Goethe’s significant words already quoted came from the last years of his life, when the new century had learned to smile almost incredulously at the relation of a bygone folly.

In the very heyday of Sterne’s popularity, 1772, a critic of Wieland’s “Diogenes” in the Auserlesene Bibliothek der neuesten deutschen Litteratur1 bewails Wieland’s imitation of Yorick, whom the critic deems a far inferior writer, “Sterne, whose works will disappear, while Wieland’s masterpieces are still the pleasure of latest posterity.” This review of “Diogenes” is, perhaps, rather more an exaggerated 157 compliment to Wieland than a studied blow at Sterne, and this thought is recognized by the reviewer in the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen,2 who designates the compliment as “dubious” and “insulting,” especially in view of Wieland’s own personal esteem for Sterne. Yet these words, even as a relative depreciation of Sterne during the period of his most universal popularity, are not insignificant. Heinrich Leopold Wagner, a tutor at Saarbrücken, in 1770, records that one member of a reading club which he had founded “regarded his taste as insulted because I sent him “Yorick’s Empfindsame Reise.”3 But Wagner regarded this instance as a proof of Saarbrücken ignorance, stupidity and lack of taste; hence the incident is but a wavering testimony when one seeks to determine the amount and nature of opposition to Yorick.

We find another derogatory fling at Sterne himself and a regret at the extent of his influence in an anonymous book entitled “Betrachtungen über die englischen Dichter,”4 published at the end of the great Yorick decade. The author compares Sterne most unfavorably with Addison: “If the humor of the Spectator and Tatler be set off against the digressive whimsicality of Sterne,” he says, “it is, as if one of the Graces stood beside a Bacchante. And yet the pampered taste of the present day takes more pleasure in a Yorick than in an Addison.” But a reviewer in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek5 discounts this author’s criticisms of men of established fame, such as Shakespeare, Swift, Yorick, and suggests youth, or brief acquaintance with English literature, as occasion for his inadequate judgments. Indeed, Yorick disciples were quick to resent any shadow cast upon his name. Thus the remark in a letter printed in the Deutsches Museum that Asmus was the German Yorick “only a better moral character,” called forth a long article in the same periodical for September, 1779, by 158 L. H. N.,6 vigorously defending Sterne as a man and a writer. The greatness of his human heart and the breadth and depth of his sympathies are given as the unanswerable proofs of his moral worth. This defense is vehemently seconded in the same magazine by Joseph von Retzer.

The one great opponent of the whole sentimental tendency, whose censure of Sterne’s disciples involved also a denunciation of the master himself, was the Göttingen professor, Georg Christopher Lichtenberg.7 In his inner nature Lichtenberg had much in common with Sterne and Sterne’s imitators in Germany, with the whole ecstatic, eccentric movement of the time. Julian Schmidt8 says: “So much is sure, at any rate, that the greatest adversary of the new literature was of one flesh and blood with it.”9 But his period of residence in England shortly after Sterne’s death and his association then and afterwards with Englishmen of eminence render his attitude toward Sterne in large measure an English one, and make an idealization either of the man or of his work impossible for him.

The contradiction between the greatness of heart evinced in Sterne’s novels and the narrow selfishness of the author himself is repeatedly noted by Lichtenberg. His knowledge of Sterne’s character was derived from acquaintance with many of Yorick’s intimate friends in London. In “Beobachtungen über den Menschen,” he says: “I can’t help smiling when the good souls who read Sterne with tears of rapture in their eyes fancy that he is mirroring himself in his book. Sterne’s simplicity, his warm heart, over-flowing with feeling, his soul, sympathizing with everything good and noble, and all the other 159 expressions, whatever they may be; and the sigh ‘Alas, poor Yorick,’ which expresses everything at once—have become proverbial among us Germans. . . . Yorick was a crawling parasite, a flatterer of the great, an unendurable burr on the clothing of those upon whom he had determined to sponge!”10

In “Timorus” he calls Sterne “ein scandalum Ecclesiae”;11 he doubts the reality of Sterne’s nobler emotions and condemns him as a clever juggler with words, who by artful manipulation of certain devices aroused in us sympathy, and he snatches away the mask of loving, hearty sympathy and discloses the grinning mountebank. With keen insight into Sterne’s mind and method, he lays down a law by which, he says, it is always possible to discover whether the author of a touching passage has really been moved himself, or has merely with astute knowledge of the human heart drawn our tears by a sly choice of touching features.12

Akin to this is the following passage in which the author is unquestionably thinking of Sterne, although he does not mention him: “A heart ever full of kindly feeling is the greatest gift which Heaven can bestow; on the other hand, the itching to keep scribbling about it, and to fancy oneself great in this scribbling is one of the greatest punishments which can be inflicted upon one who writes.”13 He exposes the heartlessness of Sterne’s pretended sympathy: “A three groschen piece is ever better than a tear,”14 and “sympathy is a poor kind of alms-giving,”15 are obviously thoughts suggested by Yorick’s sentimentalism.16

The folly of the “Lorenzodosen” is several times mentioned 160 with open or covert ridicule17 and the imitators of Sterne are repeatedly told the fruitlessness of their endeavor and the absurdity of their accomplishment.18 His “Vorschlag zu einem Orbis Pictus für deutsche dramatische Schriftsteller, Romanendichter und Schauspieler”19 is a satire on the lack of originality among those who boasted of it, and sought to win attention through pure eccentricities.

The Fragments20 are concerned, as the editors say, with an evil of the literature in those days, the period of the Sentimentalists and the “Kraftgenies.” Among the seven fragments may be noted: “Lorenzo Eschenheimers empfindsame Reise nach Laputa,” a clever satirical sketch in the manner of Swift, bitterly castigating that of which the English people claim to be the discoverers (sentimental journeying) and the Germans think themselves the improvers. In “Bittschrift der Wahnsinnigen” and “Parakletor” the unwholesome literary tendencies of the age are further satirized. His brief essay, “Ueber die Vornamen,”21 is confessedly suggested by Sterne and the sketch “Dass du auf dem Blockberg wärst,”22 with its mention of the green book entitled “Echte deutsche Flüche und Verwünschungen für alle Stände,” is manifestly to be connected in its genesis with Sterne’s famous collection of oaths.23 Lichtenberg’s comparison of Sterne and Fielding is familiar and significant.24 “Aus Lichtenbergs Nachlass: Aufsätze, Gedichte, Tagebuchblätter, Briefe,” edited by Albert Leitzmann,25 contains additional mention of Sterne.

The name of Helfreich Peter Sturz may well be coupled with that of Lichtenberg, as an opponent of the Sterne cult and 161 its German distortions, for his information and point of view were likewise drawn direct from English sources. Sturz accompanied King Christian VII of Denmark on his journey to France and England, which lasted from May 6, 1768, to January 14, 176926; hence his stay in England falls in a time but a few months after Sterne’s death (March 18, 1768), when the ungrateful metropolis was yet redolent of the late lion’s wit and humor. Sturz was an accomplished linguist and a complete master of English, hence found it easy to associate with Englishmen of distinction whom he was privileged to meet through the favor of his royal patron. He became acquainted with Garrick, who was one of Sterne’s intimate friends, and from him Sturz learned much of Yorick, especially that more wholesome revulsion of feeling against Sterne’s obscenities and looseness of speech, which set in on English soil as soon as the potent personality of the author himself had ceased to compel silence and blind opinion. England began to wonder at its own infatuation, and, gaining perspective, to view the writings of Sterne in a more rational light. Into the first spread of this reaction Sturz was introduced, and the estimate of Sterne which he carried away with him was undoubtedly colored by it. In his second letter written to the Deutsches Museum and dated August 24, 1768, but strangely not printed till April, 1777,27 he quotes Garrick with reference to Sterne, a notable word of personal censure, coming in the Germany of that decade, when Yorick’s admirers were most vehement in their claims. Garrick called him “a lewd companion, who was more loose in his intercourse than in his writings and generally drove all ladies away by his obscenities.”28 Sturz adds that all his acquaintances asserted that Sterne’s moral character went through a process of disintegration in London.

In the Deutsches Museum for July, 1776, Sturz printed a poem entitled “Die Mode,” in which he treats of the slavery of 162 fashion and in several stanzas deprecates the influence of Yorick.29

“Und so schwingt sich, zum Genie erklärt,

Strephon kühn auf Yorick’s Steckenpferd.

Trabt mäandrisch über Berg und Auen,

Reist empfindsam durch sein Dorfgebiet,

Oder singt die Jugend zu erbauen

Ganz Gefühl dem Gartengott ein Lied.

Gott der Gärten, stöhnt die Bürgerin,

Lächle gütig, Rasen und Schasmin

Haucht Gerüche! Fliehet Handlungssorgen,

Dass mein Liebster heute noch in Ruh

Sein Mark-Einsaz-Lomber spiele—Morgen,

Schliessen wir die Unglücksbude zu!”

A passage at the end of the appendix to the twelfth Reisebrief is further indication of his opposition to and his contempt for the frenzy of German sentimentalism.

The poems of Goeckingk contain allusions30 to Sterne, to be sure partly indistinctive and insignificant, which, however, tend in the main to a ridicule of the Yorick cult and place their author ultimately among the satirical opponents of sentimentalism. In the “Epistel an Goldhagen in Petershage,” 1771, he writes:

“Doch geb ich wohl zu überlegen,

Was für den Weisen besser sey:

Die Welt wie Yorick mit zu nehmen?

Nach Königen, wie Diogen,

Sich keinen Fuss breit zu bequemen,”—

a query which suggests the hesitant point of view relative to the advantage of Yorick’s excess of universal sympathy. In “Will auch ’n Genie werden” the poet steps out more unmistakably as an adversary of the movement and as a skeptical observer of the exercise of Yorick-like sympathy.

“Doch, ich Patronus, merkt das wohl,

Geh, im zerrissnen Kittel,

Hab’ aber alle Taschen voll

Yorickischer Capittel.

Doch lass’ ich, wenn mir’s Kurzweil schafft,

Die Hülfe fleh’nden Armen

Durch meinen Schweitzer, Peter Kraft,

Zerprügeln ohn’ Erbarmen.”


Goeckingk openly satirizes the sentimental cult in the poem “Der Empfindsame”

“Herr Mops, der um das dritte Wort

Empfindsamkeit im Munde führet,

Und wenn ein Grashalm ihm verdorrt,

Gleich einen Thränenstrom verlieret—


Mit meinem Weibchen thut er schier

Gleich so bekannt wie ein Franzose;

All’ Augenblicke bot er ihr

Toback aus eines Bettlers Dose

Mit dem, am Zaun in tiefem Schlaf

Er einen Tausch wie Yorik traf.

Der Unempfindsamkeit zum Hohn

Hielt er auf eine Mück’ im Glase

Beweglich einen Leichsermon,

Purrt’ eine Flieg’ ihm an der Nase,

Macht’ er das Fenster auf, und sprach:

Zieh Oheim Toby’s Fliege nach!

Durch Mops ist warlich meine Magd

Nicht mehr bey Trost, nicht mehr bey Sinnen

So sehr hat ihr sein Lob behagt,

Dass sie empfindsam allen Spinnen

Zu meinem Hause, frank und frey

Verstattet ihre Weberey.

Er trat mein Hündchen auf das Bein,

Hilf Himmel! Welch’ ein Lamentiren!

Es hätte mögen einen Stein

Der Strasse zum Erbarmen rühren,

Auch wedelt’ ihm in einem Nu

Das Hündgen schon Vergebung zu.

Ach! Hündchen, du beschämst mich sehr,

Denn dass mir Mops von meinem Leben

Drey Stunden stahl, wie schwer, wie schwer,

Wird’s halten, das ihm zu vergeben?

Denn Spinnen werden oben ein

Wohl gar noch meine Mörder seyn.”

This poem is a rather successful bit of ridicule cast on the over-sentimental who sought to follow Yorick’s foot-prints.

The other allusions to Sterne31 are concerned with his hobby-horse idea, for this seems to gain the poet’s approbation and to have no share in his censure.


The dangers of overwrought sentimentality, of heedless surrender to the emotions and reveling in their exercise,—perils to whose magnitude Sterne so largely contributed—were grasped by saner minds, and energetic protest was entered against such degradation of mind and futile expenditure of feeling.

Joachim Heinrich Campe, the pedagogical theorist, published in 177932 a brochure, “Ueber Empfindsamkeit und Empfindelei in pädagogischer Hinsicht,” in which he deprecates the tendency of “Empfindsamkeit” to degenerate into “Empfindelei,” and explains at some length the deleterious effects of an unbridled “Empfindsamkeit” and an unrestrained outpouring of sympathetic emotions which finds no actual expression, no relief in deeds. The substance of this warning essay is repeated, often word for word, but considerably amplified with new material, and rendered more convincing by increased breadth of outlook and positiveness of assertion, the fruit of six years of observation and reflection, as part of a treatise, entitled, “Von der nöthigen Sorge für die Erhaltung des Gleichgewichts unter den menschlichen Kräften: Besondere Warnung vor dem Modefehler die Empfindsamkeit zu überspannen.” It is in the third volume of the “Allgemeine Revision des gesammten Schul- und Erziehungswesens.”33 The differentiation between “Empfindsamkeit” and “Empfindelei” is again and more accessibly repeated in Campe’s later work, “Ueber die Reinigung und Bereicherung der deutschen Sprache.”34 In the second form of this essay (1785) Campe speaks of the sentimental fever as an epidemic by no means entirely cured.

His analysis of “Empfindsamkeit” is briefly as follows: “Empfindsamkeit ist die Empfänglichkeit zu Empfindnissen, in denen etwas Sittliches d. i. Freude oder Schmerz über etwas sittlich Gutes oder sittlich Böses, ist;” yet in common use the term is applied only to a certain high degree of such susceptibility. This sensitiveness is either in harmony or discord with the other powers of the body, especially with the reason: 165 if equilibrium is maintained, this sensitiveness is a fair, worthy, beneficent capacity (Fähigkeit); if exalted over other forces, it becomes to the individual and to society the most destructive and baneful gift which refinement and culture may bestow. Campe proposes to limit the use of the word “Empfindsamkeit” to the justly proportioned manifestation of this susceptibility; the irrational, exaggerated development he would designate “überspannte Empfindsamkeit.” “Empfindelei,” he says, “ist Empfindsamkeit, die sich auf eine kleinliche alberne, vernunftlose und lächerliche Weise, also da äussert, wo sie nicht hingehörte.” Campe goes yet further in his distinctions and invents the monstrous word, “Empfindsamlichkeit” for the sentimentality which is superficial, affected, sham (geheuchelte). Campe’s newly coined word was never accepted, and in spite of his own efforts and those of others to honor the word “Empfindsamkeit” and restrict it to the commendable exercise of human sympathy, the opposite process was victorious and “Empfindsamkeit,” maligned and scorned, came to mean almost exclusively, unless distinctly modified, both what Campe designates as “überspannte Empfindsamkeit” and “Empfindelei,” and also the absurd hypocrisy of the emotions which he seeks to cover with his new word. Campe’s farther consideration contains a synopsis of method for distinguishing “Empfindsamkeit” from “Empfindelei:” in the first place through the manner of their incitement,—the former is natural, the latter is fantastic, working without sense of the natural properties of things. In this connection he instances as examples, Yorick’s feeling of shame after his heartless and wilful treatment of Father Lorenzo, and, in contrast with this, the shallowness of Sterne’s imitators who whimpered over the death of a violet, and stretched out their arms and threw kisses to the moon and stars. In the second place they are distinguished in the manner of their expression: “Empfindsamkeit” is “secret, unpretentious, laconic and serious;” the latter attracts attention, is theatrical, voluble, whining, vain. Thirdly, they are known by their fruits, in the one case by deeds, in the other by shallow pretension. In the latter part 166 of his volume, Campe treats the problem of preventing the perverted form of sensibility by educative endeavor.

The word “Empfindsamkeit” was afterwards used sometimes simply as an equivalent of “Empfindung,” or sensation, without implication of the manner of sensing: for example one finds in the Morgenblatt35 a poem named “Empfindsamkeiten am Rheinfalle vom Felsen der Galerie abgeschrieben.” In the poem various travelers are made to express their thoughts in view of the waterfall. A poet cries, “Ye gods, what a hell of waters;” a tradesman, “away with the rock;” a Briton complains of the “confounded noise,” and so on. It is plain that the word suffered a generalization of meaning.

A poetical expression of Campe’s main message is found in a book called “Winterzeitvertreib eines königlichen preussischen Offiziers.”36 A poem entitled “Das empfindsame Herz” (p. 210) has the following lines:

“Freund, ein empfindsames Herz ist nicht für diese Welt,

Von Schelmen wird’s verlacht, von Thoren wirds geprellt,

Doch üb’ im Stillen das, was seine Stimme spricht.

Dein Lohn ist dir gewiss, nur hier auf Erden nicht.”

In a similar vein of protest is the letter of G. Hartmann37 to Denis, dated Tübingen, February 10, 1773, in which the writer condemns the affected sentimentalism of Jacobi and others as damaging to morals. “O best teacher,” he pleads with Denis, “continue to represent these performances as unworthy.”

Möser in his “Patriotische Phantasien”38 represents himself as replying to a maid-in-waiting who writes in distress about her young mistress, because the latter is suffering from “epidemic” sentimentalism, and is absurdly unreasonable in her practical incapacity and her surrender to her feelings. Möser’s sound advice is the substitution of genuine emotion. The whole section is entitled “Für die Empfindsamen.”

Knigge, in his “Umgang mit Menschen,” plainly has those Germans in mind who saw in Uncle Toby’s treatment of the 167 fly an incentive to unreasonable emphasis upon the relations between man and the animal world, when, in the chapter on the treatment of animals, he protests against the silly, childish enthusiasm of those who cannot see a hen killed, but partake of fowl greedily on the table, or who passionately open the window for a fly.39 A work was also translated from the French of Mistelet, which dealt with the problem of “Empfindsamkeit:” it was entitled “Ueber die Empfindsamkeit in Rücksicht auf das Drama, die Romane und die Erziehung.”40 An article condemning exaggerated sentimentality was published in the Deutsches Museum for February, 1783, under the title “Etwas über deutsche Empfindsamkeit.”

Goethe’s “Der Triumph der Empfindsamkeit” is a merry satire on the sentimental movement, but is not to be connected directly with Sterne, since Goethe is more particularly concerned with the petty imitators of his own “Werther.” Baumgartner in his Life of Goethe asserts that Sterne’s Sentimental Journey was one of the books found inside the ridiculous doll which the love-sick Prince Oronaro took about with him. This is not a necessary interpretation, for Andrason, when he took up the first book, exclaimed merely “Empfindsamkeiten,” and, as Strehlke observes,41 it is not necessary here to think of a single work, because the term was probably used in a general way, referring possibly to a number of then popular imitations.

The satires on “Empfindsamkeit” began to grow numerous at the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties, so that the Allgemeine Litteratur-Zeitung, in October, 1785, feels justified in remarking that such attempts are gradually growing as numerous as the “Empfindsame Romane” themselves, and wishes, “so may they rot together in a grave of oblivion.”42 168 Anton Reiser, the hero of Karl Philipp Moritz’s autobiographical novel (Berlin, 1785–90), begins a satire on affected sentimentalism, which was to bring shafts of ridicule to bear on the popular sham, and to throw appreciative light on the real manifestation of genuine feeling.43 A kindred satire was “Die Geschichte eines Genies,” Leipzig, 1780, two volumes, in which the prevailing fashion of digression is incidentally satirized.44

The most extensive satire on the sentimental movement, and most vehement protest against its excesses is the four volume novel, “Der Empfindsame,”45 published anonymously in Erfurt, 1781–3, but acknowledged in the introduction to the fourth volume by its author, Christian Friedrich Timme. He had already published one novel in which he exemplified in some measure characteristics of the novelists whom he later sought to condemn and satirize, that is, this first novel, “Faramond’s Familiengeschichte,”46 is digressive and episodical. “Der Empfindsame” is much too bulky to be really effective as a satire; the reiteration of satirical jibes, the repetition of satirical motifs slightly varied, or thinly veiled, recoil upon the force of the work itself and injure the effect. The maintenance of a single satire through the thirteen to fourteen hundred pages which four such volumes contain is a Herculean task which we can associate only with a genius like Cervantes. Then, too, Timme is an excellent narrator, and his original purpose is constantly obscured by his own interest and the reader’s interest in Timme’s own story, in his original creations, in the variety of his characters. These obtrude upon the original aim of the book and absorb the action of the story in such a measure that Timme often for whole chapters and sections seems to forget entirely the convention of his outsetting.

His attack is threefold, the centers of his opposition being “Werther,” “Siegwart” and Sterne, as represented by their followers 169 and imitators. But the campaign is so simple, and the satirist has been to such trouble to label with care the direction of his own blows, that it is not difficult to separate the thrusts intended for each of his foes.

Timme’s initial purpose is easily illustrated by reference to his first chapter, where his point of view is compactly put and the soundness of his critical judgment and the forcefulness of his satirical bent are unequivocally demonstrated: This chapter, which, as he says, “may serve instead of preface and introduction,” is really both, for the narrative really begins only in the second chapter. “Every nation, every age,” he says, “has its own doll as a plaything for its children, and sentimentality (Empfindsamkeit) is ours.” Then with lightness and grace, coupled with unquestionable critical acumen, he traces briefly the growth of “Empfindsamkeit” in Germany. “Kaum war der liebenswürdige Sterne auf sein Steckenpferd gestiegen, und hatte es uns vorgeritten; so versammelten sich wie gewöhnlich in Teutschland alle Jungen an ihn herum, hingen sich an ihn, oder schnizten sich sein Steckenpferd in der Geschwindigkeit nach, oder brachen Stecken vom nächsten Zaun oder rissen aus einem Reissigbündel den ersten besten Prügel, setzten sich darauf und ritten mit einer solchen Wut hinter ihm drein, dass sie einen Luftwirbel veranlassten, der alles, was ihm zu nahe kam, wie ein reissender Strom mit sich fortris, wär es nur unter den Jungen geblieben, so hätte es noch sein mögen; aber unglücklicherweise fanden auch Männer Geschmack an dem artigen Spielchen, sprangen vom ihrem Weg ab und ritten mit Stok und Degen und Amtsperüken unter den Knaben einher. Freilich erreichte keiner seinen Meister, den sie sehr bald aus dem Gesicht verloren, und nun die possirlichsten Sprünge von der Welt machen und doch bildet sich jeder der Affen ein, er reite so schön wie der Yorick.”47

This lively description of Sterne’s part in this uprising is, perhaps, the best brief characterization of the phenomenon and is all the more significant as coming from the pen of a contemporary, and written only about a decade after the inception of the sentimental movement as influenced and 170 furthered by the translation of the Sentimental Journey. It represents a remarkable critical insight into contemporaneous literary movements, the rarest of all critical gifts, but it has been overlooked by investigators who have sought and borrowed brief words to characterize the epoch.48

The contribution of “Werther” and “Siegwart” to the sentimental frenzy are even as succinctly and graphically designated; the latter book, published in 1776, is held responsible for a recrudescence of the phenomenon, because it gave a new direction, a new tone to the faltering outbursts of Sterne’s followers and indicated a more comprehensible and hence more efficient, outlet for their sentimentalism. Now again, “every nook resounded with the whining sentimentality, with sighs, kisses, forget-me-nots, moonshine, tears and ecstasies;” those hearts excited by Yorick’s gospel, gropingly endeavoring to find an outlet for their own emotions which, in their opinion were characteristic of their arouser and stimulator, found through “Siegwart” a solution of their problem, a relief for their emotional excess.

Timme insists that his attack is only on Yorick’s mistaken followers and not on Sterne himself. He contrasts the man and his imitators at the outset sharply by comments on a quotation from the novel, “Fragmente zur Geschichte der Zärtlichkeit”49 as typifying the outcry of these petty imitators against the heartlessness of their misunderstanding critics,—“Sanfter, dultender Yorick,” he cries, “das war nicht deine Sprache! Du priesest dich nicht mit einer pharisäischen Selbstgenügsamkeit und schimpftest nicht auf die, die dir nicht ähnlich waren, ‘Doch! sprachst Du am Grabe Lorenzos, doch ich bin so weichherzig wie ein Weib, aber ich bitte die Welt nicht zu lachen, sondern mich zu bedauern!’ Ruhe deinem Staube, sanfter, liebevoller Dulter! und nur einen Funken deines Geistes deinen Affen.”50 He writes not for the “gentle, tender 171 souls on whom the spirit of Yorick rests,”51 for those whose feelings are easily aroused and who make quick emotional return, who love and do the good, the beautiful, the noble; but for those who “bei dem wonnigen Wehen und Anhauchen der Gottheithaltenden Natur, in huldigem Liebessinn und himmelsüssem Frohsein dahin schmelzt . . die ihr vom Sang der Liebe, von Mondschein und Tränen euch nährt,” etc., etc.52 In these few words he discriminates between the man and his influence, and outlines his intentions to satirize and chastise the insidious disease which had fastened itself upon the literature of the time. This passage, with its implied sincerity of appreciation for the real Yorick, is typical of Timme’s attitude throughout the book, and his concern lest he should appear at any time to draw the English novelist into his condemnation leads him to reiterate this statement of purpose and to insist upon the contrast.

Brükmann, a young theological student, for a time an intimate of the Kurt home, is evidently intended to represent the soberer, well-balanced thought of the time in opposition to the feverish sentimental frenzy of the Kurt household. He makes an exception of Yorick in his condemnation of the literary favorites, the popular novelists of that day, but he deplores the effects of misunderstood imitation of Yorick’s work, and argues his case with vehemence against this sentimental group.53 Brükmann differentiates too the different kinds of sentimentalism and their effects in much the same fashion as Campe in his treatise published two years before.54 In all this Brükmann may be regarded as the mouth-piece of the author. The clever daughter of the gentleman who entertains Pank at his home reads a satirical poem on the then popular literature, but expressly disclaims any attack on Yorick or “Siegwart,” and asserts that her bitterness is intended for their imitators. Lotte, Pank’s sensible and unsentimental, long-suffering 172 fiancée, makes further comment on the “apes” of Yorick, “Werther,” and “Siegwart.”

The unfolding of the story is at the beginning closely suggestive of Tristram Shandy and is evidently intended to follow the Sterne novel in a measure as a model. As has already been suggested, Timme’s own narrative powers balk the continuity of the satire, but aid the interest and the movement of the story. The movement later is, in large measure, simple and direct. The hero is first introduced at his christening, and the discussion of fitting names in the imposing family council is taken from Walter Shandy’s hobby. The narrative here, in Sterne fashion, is interrupted by a Shandean digression55 concerning the influence of clergymen’s collars and neck-bands upon the thoughts and minds of their audiences. Such questions of chance influence of trifles upon the greater events of life is a constant theme of speculation among the pragmatics; no petty detail is overlooked in the possibility of its portentous consequences. Walter Shandy’s hyperbolic philosophy turned about such a focus, the exaltation of insignificant trifles into mainsprings of action. Shandy bristles with such discussions.

In Shandy fashion the story doubles on itself after the introduction and gives minute details of young Kurt’s family and the circumstances prior to his birth. The later discussion56 in the family council concerning the necessary qualities in the tutor to be hired for the young Kurt is distinctly a borrowing from Shandy.57 Timme imitates Sterne’s method of ridiculing pedantry; the requirements listed by the Diaconus and the professor are touches of Walter Shandy’s misapplied, warped, and undigested wisdom. In the nineteenth chapter of the third volume58 we find a Sterne passage associating itself with Shandy rather more than the Sentimental Journey. It is a playful thrust at a score of places in Shandy in which the author converses with the reader about the progress of the book, and allows the mechanism of book-printing and the 173 vagaries of publishers to obtrude themselves upon the relation between writer and reader. As a reminiscence of similar promises frequent in Shandy, the author promises in the first chapter of the fourth volume to write a book with an eccentric title dealing with a list of absurdities.59

But by far the greater proportion of the allusions to Sterne associate themselves with the Sentimental Journey. A former acquaintance of Frau Kurt, whose favorite reading was Shandy, Wieland’s “Sympatien” and the Sentimental Journey, serves to satirize the influence of Yorick’s ass episode; this gentleman wept at the sight of an ox at work, and never ate meat lest he might incur the guilt of the murder of these sighing creatures.60

The most constantly recurring form of satire is that of contradiction between the sentimental expression of elevated, universal sympathy and broader humanity and the failure to seize an immediately presented opportunity to embody desire in deed. Thus Frau Kurt,61 buried in “Siegwart,” refuses persistently to be disturbed by those in immediate need of a succoring hand. Pankraz and his mother while on a drive discover an old man weeping inconsolably over the death of his dog.62 The scene of the dead ass at Nampont occurs at once to Madame Kurt and she compares the sentimental content of these two experiences in deprivation, finding the palm of sympathy due to the melancholy dog-bewailer before her, thereby exalting the sentimental privilege of her own experience as a witness. Quoting Yorick, she cries: “Shame on the world! If men only loved one another as this man loves his dog!”63 At this very moment the reality of her sympathy is put to the test by the approach of a wretched woman bearing a wretched child, begging for assistance, but Frau Kurt, steeped in the delight of her sympathetic emotion, repulses her rudely. Pankraz, on 174 going home, takes his Yorick and reads again the chapter containing the dead-ass episode; he spends much time in determining which event was the more affecting, and tears flow at the thought of both animals. In the midst of his vehement curses on “unempfindsame Menschen,” “a curse upon you, you hard-hearted monsters, who treat God’s creatures unkindly,” etc., he rebukes the gentle advances of his pet cat Riepel, rebuffs her for disturbing his “Wonnegefühl,” in such a heartless and cruel way that, through an accident in his rapt delight at human sympathy, the ultimate result is the poor creature’s death by his own fault.

In the second volume64 Timme repeats this method of satire, varying conditions only, yet forcing the matter forward, ultimately, into the grotesque comic, but again taking his cue from Yorick’s narrative about the ass at Nampont, acknowledging specifically his linking of the adventure of Madame Kurt to the episode in the Sentimental Journey. Frau Kurt’s ardent sympathy is aroused for a goat drawing a wagon, and driven by a peasant. She endeavors to interpret the sighs of the beast and finally insists upon the release of the animal, which she asserts is calling to her for aid. The poor goat’s parting bleat after its departing owner is construed as a curse on the latter’s hardheartedness. Frau Kurt embraces and kisses the animal. During the whole scene the neighboring village is in flames, houses are consumed and poor people rendered homeless, but Frau Kurt expresses no concern, even regarding the catastrophe as a merited affliction, because of the villagers’ lack of sympathy with their domestic animals. The same means of satire is again employed in the twelfth chapter of the same volume.65 Pankraz, overcome with pain because Lotte, his betrothed, fails to unite in his sentimental enthusiasm and persists in common-sense, tries to bury his grief in a wild ride through night and storm. His horse tramples ruthlessly on a poor old man in the road; the latter cries for help, but Pank, buried in contemplation of Lotte’s lack of sensibility, turns a deaf ear to the appeal.


In the seventeenth chapter of the third volume, a sentimental journey is proposed, and most of the fourth volume is an account of this undertaking and the events arising from its complications. Pankraz’s adventures are largely repetitions of former motifs, and illustrate the fate indissolubly linked with an imitation of Sterne’s related converse with the fair sex.66

The journey runs, after a few adventures, over into an elaborate practical joke in which Pankraz himself is burlesqued by his contemporaries. Timme carries his poignancy and keenness of satire over into bluntness of burlesque blows in a large part of these closing scenes. Pankraz loses the sympathy of the reader, involuntarily and irresistibly conceded him, and becomes an inhuman freak of absurdity, beyond our interest.67

Pankraz is brought into disaster by his slavish following of suggestions aroused through fancied parallels between his own circumstances and those related of Yorick. He finds a sorrowing woman68 sitting, like Maria of Moulines, beneath a poplar tree. Pankraz insists upon carrying out this striking analogy farther, which the woman, though she betrays no knowledge of the Sentimental Journey, is not loath to accede to, as it coincides with her own nefarious purposes. Timme in the following scene strikes a blow at the abjectly sensual involved in much of the then sentimental, unrecognized and unrealized.

Pankraz meets a man carrying a cage of monkeys.69 He buys the poor creatures from their master, even as Frau Kurt had purchased the goat. The similarity to the Starling narrative in Sterne’s volume fills Pankraz’s heart with glee. The Starling wanted to get out and so do his monkeys, and Pankraz’s only questions are: “What did Yorick do?” “What 176 would he do?” He resolves to do more than is recorded of Yorick, release the prisoners at all costs. Yorick’s monolog occurs to him and he parodies it. The animals greet their release in the thankless way natural to them,—a point already enforced in the conduct of Frau Kurt’s goat.

In the last chapter of the third volume Sterne’s relationship to “Eliza” is brought into the narrative. Pankraz writes a letter wherein he declares amid exaggerated expressions of bliss that he has found “Elisa,” his “Elisa.” This is significant as showing that the name Eliza needed no further explanation, but, from the popularity of the Yorick-Eliza letters and the wide-spread admiration of the relation, the name Eliza was accepted as a type of that peculiar feminine relation which existed between Sterne and Mrs. Draper, and which appealed to Sterne’s admirers.

Pankraz’s new Order of the Garter, born of his wild frenzy70 of devotion over this article of Elisa’s wearing apparel, is an open satire on Leuchsenring’s and Jacobi’s silly efforts noted elsewhere. The garter was to bear Elisa’s silhouette and the device “Orden vom Strumpfband der empfindsamen Liebe.”

The elaborate division of moral preachers71 into classes may be further mentioned as an adaptation from Sterne, cast in Yorick’s mock-scientific manner.

A consideration of these instances of allusion and adaptation with a view to classification, reveals a single line of demarkation obvious and unaltered. And this line divides the references to Sterne’s sentimental influence from those to his whimsicality of narration, his vagaries of thought; that is, it follows inevitably, and represents precisely the two aspects of Sterne as an individual, and as an innovator in the world of letters. But that a line of cleavage is further equally discernible in the treatment of these two aspects is not to be overlooked. On the one hand is the exaggerated, satirical, burlesque; on the other the modified, lightened, softened. And these two lines of division coincide precisely.


The slight touches of whimsicality, suggesting Sterne, are a part of Timme’s own narrative, evidently adapted with approval and appreciation; they are never carried to excess, satirized or burlesqued, but may be regarded as purposely adopted, as a result of admiration and presumably as a suggestion to the possible workings of sprightliness and grace on the heaviness of narrative prose at that time. Timme, as a clear-sighted contemporary, certainly confined the danger of Sterne’s literary influence entirely to the sentimental side, and saw no occasion to censure an importation of Sterne’s whimsies. Pank’s ode on the death of Riepel, written partly in dashes and partly in exclamation points, is not a disproof of this assertion. Timme is not satirizing Sterne’s whimsical use of typographical signs, but rather the Germans who misunderstood Sterne and tried to read a very peculiar and precious meaning into these vagaries. The sentimental is, however, always burlesqued and ridiculed; hence the satire is directed largely against the Sentimental Journey, and Shandy is followed mainly in those sections, which, we are compelled to believe, he wrote for his own pleasure, and in which he was led on by his own interest.

The satire on sentimentalism is purposeful, the imitation and adaptation of the whimsical and original is half-unconscious, and bespeaks admiration and commendation.

Timme’s book was sufficiently popular to demand a second edition, but it never received the critical examination its merits deserved. Wieland’s Teutscher Merkur and the Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften ignore it completely. The Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitungen announces the book in its issue of August 2, 1780, but the book itself is not reviewed in its columns. The Jenaische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen accords it a colorless and unappreciative review in which Timme is reproached for lack of order in his work (a censure more applicable to the first volume), and further for his treatment of German authors then popular.72 The latter statement stamps the review as unsympathetic with Timme’s 178 satirical purpose. In the Erfurtische gelehrte Zeitung,73 in the very house of its own publication, the novel is treated in a long review which hesitates between an acknowledged lack of comprehension and indignant denunciation. The reviewer fears that the author is a “Pasquillant oder gar ein Indifferentist” and hopes the public will find no pleasure (Geschmack) in such bitter jesting (Schnaken). He is incensed at Timme’s contention that the Germans were then degenerate as compared with their Teutonic forefathers, and Timme’s attack on the popular writers is emphatically resented. “Aber nun kömmt das Schlimme erst,” he says, “da führt er aus Schriften unserer grössten Schenies, aus den Lieblings-büchern der Nazion, aus Werther’s Leiden, dem Siegwart, den Fragmenten zur Geschichte der Zärtlichkeit, Müller’s Freuden und Leiden, Klinger’s Schriften u.s.w. zur Bestätigung seiner Behauptung, solche Stellen mit solcher Bosheit an, dass man in der That ganz verzweifelt wird, ob sie von einem Schenie oder von einem Affen geschrieben sind.”

In the number for July 6, 1782, the second and third volumes are reviewed. Pity is expressed for the poor author, “denn ich fürchte es wird sich ein solches Geschrey wider ihn erheben, wovon ihm die Ohren gällen werden.” Timme wrote reviews for this periodical, and the general tone of this notice renders it not improbable that he roguishly wrote the review himself or inspired it, as a kind of advertisement for the novel itself. It is certainly a challenge to the opposing party.

The Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek74 alone seems to grasp the full significance of the satire. “We acknowledge gladly,” says the reviewer, “that the author has with accuracy noted and defined the rise, development, ever-increasing contagion and plague-like prevalence of this moral pestilence; . . . that the author has penetrated deep into the knowledge of this disease and its causes.” He wishes for an engraving of the Sterne hobby-horse cavalcade described in the first chapter, and begs for a second and third volume, “aus deutscher Vaterlandsliebe.” Timme is called “Our German Cervantes.”


The second and third volumes are reviewed75 with a brief word of continued approbation.

A novel not dissimilar in general purpose, but less successful in accomplishment, is Wezel’s “Wilhelmine Arend, oder die Gefahren der Empfindsamkeit,” Dessau and Leipzig, 1782, two volumes. The book is more earnest in its conception. Its author says in the preface that his desire was to attack “Empfindsamkeit” on its dangerous and not on its comic side, hence the book avoids in the main the lighthearted and telling burlesque, the Hudibrastic satire of Timme’s novel. He works along lines which lead through increasing trouble to a tragic dénouement.

The preface contains a rather elaborate classification of kinds of “Empfindsamkeit,” which reminds one of Sterne’s mock-scientific discrimination. This classification is according to temperament, education, example, custom, reading, strength or weakness of the imagination; there is a happy, a sad, a gentle, a vehement, a dallying, a serious, a melancholy, sentimentality, the last being the most poetic, the most perilous.

The leading character, Wilhelmine, is, like most characters which are chosen and built up to exemplify a preconceived theory, quite unconvincing. In his foreword Wezel analyzes his heroine’s character and details at some length the motives underlying the choice of attributes and the building up of her personality. This insight into the author’s scaffolding, this explanation of the mechanism of his puppet-show, does not enhance the aesthetic, or the satirical force of the figure. She is not conceived in flesh and blood, but is made to order.

The story begins in letters,—a method of story-telling which was the legacy of Richardson’s popularity—and this device is again employed in the second volume (Part VII). Wilhelmine Arend is one of those whom sentimentalism seized like a maddening pestiferous disease. We read of her that she melted into tears when her canary bird lost a feather, that she turned white and trembled when Dr. Braun hacked worms to pieces in conducting a biological experiment. On one occasion she refused to drive home, as this would take the horses out 180 in the noonday sun and disturb their noonday meal,—an exorbitant sympathy with brute creation which owes its popularity to Yorick’s ass. It is not necessary here to relate the whole story. Wilhelmine’s excessive sentimentality estranges her from her husband, a weak brutish man, who has no comprehension of her feelings. He finds a refuge in the debasing affections of a French opera-singer, Pouilly, and gradually sinks to the very lowest level of degradation. This all is accomplished by the interposition and active concern of friends, by efforts at reunion managed by benevolent intriguers and kindly advisers.

The advice of Drs. Braun and Irwin is especially significant in its sane characterization of Wilhelmine’s mental disorders, and the observations upon “Empfindsamkeit” which are scattered through the book are trenchant, and often markedly clever. Wilhelmine holds sentimental converse with three kindred spirits in succession, Webson, Dittmar, and Geissing. The first reads touching tales aloud to her and they two unite their tears, a sentimental idea dating from the Maria of Moulines episode. The part which the physical body, with its demands and desires unacknowledged and despised, played as the unseen moving power in these three friendships is clearly and forcefully brought out. Allusion to Timme’s elucidation of this principle, which, though concealed, underlay much of the sentimentalism of this epoch, has already been made. Finally Wilhelmine is persuaded by her friends to leave her husband, and the scene is shifted to a little Harz village, where she is married to Webson; but the unreasonableness of her nature develops inordinately, and she is unable ever to submit to any reasonable human relations, and the rest of the tale is occupied with her increasing mental aberration, her retirement to a hermit-like seclusion, and her death.

The book, as has been seen, presents a rather pitiful satire on the whole sentimental epoch, not treating any special manifestation, but applicable in large measure equally to those who joined in expressing the emotional ferment to which Sterne, “Werther” and “Siegwart” gave impulse, and for which they secured literary recognition. Wezel fails as a satirist, partly 181 because his leading character is not convincing, but largely because his satirical exaggeration, and distortion of characteristics, which by a process of selection renders satire efficient, fails to make the exponent of sentimentalism ludicrous, but renders her pitiful. At the same time this satirical warping impairs the value of the book as a serious presentation of a prevailing malady. The book falls between two stools.

A precursor of “Wilhelmine Arend” from Wezel’s own hand was “Die unglückliche Schwäche,” which was published in the second volume of his “Satirische Erzählungen.”76 In this book we have a character with a heart like the sieve of the Danaids, and to Frau Laclerc is attributed “an exaggerated softness of heart which was unable to resist a single impression, and was carried away at any time, wherever the present impulse bore it.” The plot of the story, with the intrigues of Graf. Z., the Pouilly of the piece, the separation of husband and wife, their reunion, the disasters following directly in the train of weakness of heart in opposing sentimental attacks, are undoubtedly children of the same purpose as that which brought forth “Wilhelmine Arend.”

Another satirical protest was, as one reads from a contemporary review, “Die Tausend und eine Masche, oder Yoricks wahres Shicksall, ein blaues Mährchen von Herrn Stanhope” (1777, 8o). The book purports to be the posthumous work of a young Englishman, who, disgusted with Yorick’s German imitators, grew finally indignant with Yorick himself. The Almanach der deutschen Musen (1778, pp. 99–100) finds that the author misjudges Yorick. The book is written in part if not entirely in verse.

In 1774 a correspondent of Wieland’s Merkur writes, begging this authoritative periodical to condemn a weekly paper just started in Prague, entitled “Wochentlich Etwas,” which is said to be written in the style of Tristram Shandy and the Sentimental Journey, M . . . R . . . and “die Beyträge zur Geheimen Geschichte des menschlichen Herzens und Verstandes,” and thereby is a shame to “our dear Bohemia.”


In this way it is seen how from various sources and in various ways protest was made against the real or distorted message of Laurence Sterne.

1. I, p. 103, Lemgo.

2. 1772, July 7.

3. See Erich Schmidt’s “Heinrich Leopold Wagner, Goethe’s Jugendgenosse,” 2d edition, Jena, 1879, p. 82.

4. Berlin, 1779, pp. 86.

5. XLIV, 1, p. 105.

6. Probably Ludwig Heinrich von Nicolay, the poet and fable-writer (1727–1820). The references to the Deutsches Museum are respectively VI, p. 384; VIII, pp. 220–235; X, pp. 464 ff.

7. “Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s Vermischte Schriften,” edited by Ludwig Christian Lichtenberg and Friedrich Kries, new edition, Göttingen, 1844–46, 8 vols.

8. “Geschichte des geistigen Lebens in Deutschland,” Leipzig, 1862, II, p. 585.

9. See also Gervinus, “Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung,” 5th edition, 1874, V. p. 194. “Ein Original selbst und mehr als irgend einer befähigt die humoristischen Romane auf deutschen Boden zu verpflanzen.” Gervinus says also (V, p. 221) that the underlying thought of Musäus in his “Physiognomische Reisen” would, if handled by Lichtenberg, have made the most fruitful stuff for a humorous novel in Sterne’s style.

10. I, p. 184 f.

11. III, p. 112.

12. II, 11–12: “Im ersten Fall wird er nie, nach dem die Stelle vorüber ist, seinen Sieg plötzlich aufgeben. So wie bei ihm sich die Leidenschaft kühlt, kühlt sie sich auch bei uns und er bringt uns ab, ohne dass wir es wissen. Hingegen im letztern Fall nimmt er sich selten die Mühe, sich seines Sieges zu bedienen, sondern wirft den Leser oft mehr zur Bewunderung seiner Kunst, als seines Herzens in eine andere Art von Verfassung hinein, die ihn selbst nichts kostet als Witz, den Leser fast um alles bringt, was er vorher gewonnen hatte.”

13. V, 95.

14. I, p. 136.

15. I, p. 151.

16. See also I, p. 139.

17. II, p. 209; III, p. 11; VII, p. 133.

18. I, p. 136; II, pp. 13, 39, 209; 165, “Die Nachahmer Sterne’s sind gleichsam die Pajazzi desselben.”

19. In Göttingisches Magazin, 1780, Schriften IV, pp. 186–227: “Thöricht affectirte Sonderbarkeit in dieser Methode wird das Kriterium von Originalität und das sicherste Zeichen, dass man einen Kopf habe, dieses wenn man sich des Tages ein Paar Mal darauf stellt. Wenn dieses auch eine Sternisch Kunst wäre, so ist wohl so viel gewiss, es ist keine der schwersten.”

20. II, pp. 199–244.

21. V, p. 250.

22. VI, p. 195.

23. Tristram Shandy, I, pp. 172–180.

24. II, p. 12.

25. Weimar, 1899.

26. These dates are of the departure from and return to Copenhagen; the actual time of residence in foreign lands would fall somewhat short of this period.

27. Deutsches Museum, 1777, p. 449, or Schriften, I, pp. 12–13; “Bibliothek der deutschen Klassiker,” Vol. VI, p. 652.

28. English writers who have endeavored to make an estimate of Sterne’s character have ignored this part of Garrick’s opinion, though his statement with reference to the degeneration of Sterne’s moral nature is frequently quoted.

29. Deutsches Museum, II, pp. 601–604; Schriften, II, pp. 288–291.

30. Gedichte von L. F. G. Goeckingk, 3 Bde., 1780, 1781, 1782, Leipzig.

31. I, pp. 94, 116, 160.

32. Hamburg, pp. 44.

33. Hamburg, Bohn, 1785.

34. Published in improved and amplified form, Braunschweig, 1794.

35. II, Nr. 204, August 25, 1808, Tübingen.

36. Breslau, 1779, 2d edition, 1780, by A. W. L. von Rahmel.

37. See M. Denis, “Literarischer Nachlass,” edited by Retzer, Wien, 1801, II, p. 196.

38. “Sämmtliche Werke,” edited by B. R. Abeken, Berlin, 1858, III, pp. 61–64.

39. First American edition as “Practical Philosophy,” Lansingburgh, 1805, p. 331. Sterne is cited on p. 85.

40. Altenburg, 1778, p. 90. Reviewed in Gothaische Gelehrte Zeitungen, 1779, p. 169, March 17, and in Allg. deutsche Bibl., XXXVII, 2, p. 476.

41. Hempel, VIII, p. 354.

42. In a review of “Mamsell Fieckchen und ihr Vielgetreuer, ein Erbauungsbüchlein für gefühlvolle Mädchen,” which is intended to be a warning to tender-hearted maidens against the sentimental mask of young officers. Another protest against excess of sentimentalism was “Philotas, ein Versuch zur Beruhigung und Belehrung für Leidende und Freunde der Leidenden,” Leipzig, 1779. See Allg. deutsche. Bibl., XLIV. 1, pp. 128–9.

43. See Erich Schmidt’s “Richardson, Rousseau und Goethe,” Jena, 1875, p. 297.

44. See Jenaische Zeitungen von Gel. Sachen, 1780, pp. 627, 761.

45. The full title is “Der Empfindsame Maurus Pankrazius Ziprianus Kurt auch Selmar genannt, ein Moderoman,” published by Keyser at Erfurt, 1781–83, with a second edition, 1785–87.

46. “Faramonds Familiengeschichte, in Briefen,” Erfurt, Keyser, 1779–81. Allg. deutsche Bibl., XLIV, 1, p. 120; Jenaische Zeitungen von Gel. Sachen, 1780, pp. 273, 332; 1781, pp. 113, 314.

47. Pp. 8–9.

48. Goethe’s review of Schummel’s “Empfindsame Reise” in Frankfurter Gel. Anz. represents the high-water mark of understanding criticism relative to individual work, but represents necessarily no grasp of the whole movement.

49. Frankfurt, 1778, Allg. deutsche Bibl., XL, 1, 119. This is by Baker incorrectly ascribed J. F. Abel, the author of “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Liebe,” 1778.

50. P. 15.

51. P. 17.

52. P. 18.

53. I, pp. 313 ff.

54. This distinction between Empfindsamkeit and Empfindelei is further given II, p. 180.

55. Pp. 33–39.

56. I, pp. 88 ff.

57. See discussion concerning Tristram’s tutor, Tristram Shandy, II, p. 217.

58. III, pp. 318 ff.

59. Vol. IV, p. 12. “Zoologica humana,” and treating of Affen, Gekken, Narren, Schelmen, Schurken, Heuchlern, Schlangen, Schafen, Schweinen, Ochsen und Eseln.

60. I, p. 72.

61. I, pp. 225 ff.

62. I, pp. 245 ff.

63. A substitution merely of another animal for the passage in “Empfindsame Reise,” Bode’s translation, edition of 1769 (2d ed.), I, p. 109.

64. pp. 241 ff.

65. Vol. II, pp. 333 ff.

66. See the record of Pankraz’s sentimental interview with the pastor’s wife.

67. For example, see Pankraz’s prayer to Riepel, the dead cat, when he learns that another has done more than he in raising a lordlier monument to the feline’s virtues: “Wenn du itz in der Gesellschaft reiner, verklärter Kazengeister, Himnen miaust, O so sieh einen Augenblick auf diese Welt herab! Sieh meinen Schmerz, meine Reue!” His sorrow for Riepel is likened to the Nampont pilgrim’s grief for his dead ass.

68. IV, pp. 222–235.

69. IV, pp. 253 ff.

70. IV, pp. 113 ff.: “Wenn ich so denke, wie es Elisen berührt, so wird mir schwindlich . . . . Ich möchte es umschlingen wie es Elisen’s Bein umschlungen hat, mögt mich ganz verweben mit ihm,” etc.

71. IV, pp. 214 ff.

72. 1781, p. 573: “Dass er einzelne Stellen aus unsern angesehensten Schriftstellern heraus rupfet und in eine lächerliche Verbindung bringt.”

73. 1781, pp. 265–7.

74. LI, I, p. 234.

75. LII, 1, p. 149.

76. Reviewed in Almanach der deutscher Musen, 1779, p. 41. The work was published in Leipzig, I, 1777; II, 1778.



The Case of Elijah and the Widow of Zerephath considered: A charity sermon preach’d on Good Friday, April 17, 1747. York, 1747.

The Abuses of Conscience set forth in a sermon preached in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter’s, York, July 29, 1750. York, 1750.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, vols. I, II, York, 1759. 2d. ed. London, 1760. Vols. III, IV, London, 1761. Vols. V, VI, London, 1762. Vols. VII, VIII, London, 1765. Vol. IX, London, 1767.

Sermons of Mr. Yorick. Vols. I, II, London, 1760. Vols. III, IV, London, 1766. Vols. V, VI, VII, London, 1769.

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, 2 vols. London, 1768.

A Political Romance addressed to ——, esq., of York, 1769. The first edition of the Watchcoat story.

Letters from Yorick to Eliza. London, 1775.

Twelve Letters to his Friends on Various Occasions, to which is added his history of a Watchcoat, with explanatory notes. London, 1775.

Letters of the Late Reverend Laurence Sterne to his most intimate Friends with a Fragment in the Manner of Rabelais to which are prefixed Memoirs of his life and family written by himself, published by his daughter, Lydia Sterne de Medalle. London, 1775.

Seven Letters written by Sterne and his Friends, edited by W. Durrant Cooper. 1844.

Unpublished Letters of Laurence Sterne. In Philobiblon Society Miscellanies. 1855, Vol. II. The Kitty Correspondence.


Works of Laurence Sterne. 10 vols. London, Dodsley, etc., 1793.

Works. Edited by G. E. B. Saintsbury, 6 vols. London, 1894.

These two editions have been chiefly used in the preparation of this work. Because of its general accessibility references to Tristram Shandy and the Sentimental Journey are made to the latter.

Illustrations of Sterne, by Dr. John Ferriar. Manchester, 1798. 2d edition: London, 1812.

Life of Laurence Sterne, by Percy Fitzgerald. 1864. Revised edition, London, 1896. 2 vols.

Sterne, in English Men of Letters Series, by H. D. Traill. 1883.

Sir Walter Scott. Lives of the Novelists, Vol. I, p. 156–186.

Paul Stapfer. Laurence Sterne, sa personne et ses ouvrages étude précédée d’un fragment inédit de Sterne. Paris, 1882.

William M. Thackeray. Sterne and Goldsmith, in English Humorists, 1858, pp. 286–341.

J. B. Montégut, Essais sur la Littérature anglaise. 1883, pp. 279–364.

Walter Bagehot, Sterne and Thackeray, in Literary Studies. 1902, Vol. II, pp. 282–325.

E. Scherer. Laurence Sterne or the Humorist, in Essays on English Literature. 1891, pp. 150–173.

Sir Leslie Stephen. Hours in a Library. 1852. Vol. III, pp. 139–174.

Herbert Paul. Men and Letters. 1901. Pp. 67–89.

Whitwell Elwin. Some XVIII Century Men of Letters. 1902. Vol. II, pp. 1–81.

Sidney Lee. Article on Sterne in the National Dictionary of Biography.



It cannot be assumed that the following list of reprints and translations is complete. The conditions of the book trade then existing were such that unauthorized editions of popular books were very common.

i.      German editions of Sterne’s works including spurious or doubtful works published under his name.

a. Tristram Shandy

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, 6 vols. Altenburg, 1772. (Richter.)

The same. Altenburg, 1776.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. A new edition. Basil, 1792. (Legrand).

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, 2 vols gr. 8o. Gotha, 1792. (Ettinger). Identical with the preceding.

Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, 4 vols. (with 4 engravings). Wien, 1798. (Sammer.)

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, 4 vols. Gotha, 1805–6. (Stendel and Keil.)

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Schneeburg, 1833. Pocket edition of the most eminent English authors of the preceding century, of which it is vols. XI-XIII.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, 2 vols., gr. 8o. Basel. (Thurneisen), without date.

b. The Sentimental Journey

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, 2 vols. 8o. Altenburg, 1771. (Richter.)

The same with cuts, 2 vols, 8o. Altenburg, 1772. (Richter.)

The same. Altenburg, 1776. (Richter.)

The same. Göttingen, 1779. (Diederich). Pp. 199. No introduction or notes.

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy in two books. Göttingen, 1787. (Dietrich.)

A Sentimental Journey with a continuation by Eugenius and an account of the life and writings of L. Sterne, gr. 8o. Basel, 1792. (Legrand, Ettinger in Gotha.)


Sentimental Journey through France and Italy mit Anmerkungen und Wortregister, 8o. Halle, 1794. (Renger).

A sentimental Journey through France and Italy. 4 parts complete in 2 vols. 2d edition to which are now added several other pieces by the same author. (With four engravings) 12o. Wien, 1798. (Sammer.)

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy and the continuation by Eugenius, 2 parts, 8o. Halle, 1806. (Hendel).

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy by Mr. Yorick. In Two Books. Göttingen, 1806. (Dietrich). Pp. 271.

A Sentimental Journey. New edition, 12o. Altenburg, 1815. (Brockhaus in Leipzig.)

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, gr. 12o. Jena, 1826. (Schmid.)

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, 16o. Nürnberg, 1828. (Campe.)

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. Schneeberg, 1830. Pocket edition of the most eminent English authors of the preceding century, of which it is Vol. IV.

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. Basil (Thurneisen), without date.

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. London. Cooke. Campe in Hamburg, without date.

Tauchnitz has published editions of both Shandy and the Journey.

c. Letters, Sermons and Miscellaneous

Yorick’s letters to Eliza, Eliza’s letters to Yorick. Sterne’s letters to his Friends. Altenburg, 1776. (Richter.)

Letters to his most intimate Friends, with a fragment in the manner of Rabelais published by his Daughter, Mme. Medalle. 3 vols., 8o. Altenburg, 1776. (Richter.)

Letters written between Yorick and Eliza with letters to his Friends. Nürnberg, 8o, 1788. (Schneider.)


Letters written between Yorick and Eliza. 12o. Vienna, 1795.

Letters between Yorick and Eliza, 12o. Wien, 1797. (Sammer.)

Letters of the late Rev. Mr. Laurence Sterne, to his most intimate friends, on various occasions, as published by his daughter, Mrs. Medalle, and others, including the letters between Yorick and Eliza. To which are added: An appendix of XXXII Letters never printed before; A fragment in the manner of Rabelais, and the History of a Watchcoat. With explanatory notes. 2 vols. Vienna, 1797. (Sammer.)

Letters written between Yorick and Eliza, mit einem erklärenden Wortregister zum Selbstunterricht von J. H. Emmert. Giessen, 1802.

Sermons by Laurence Sterne. 7 vols. Altenburg, 1777. (Richter) 8o.

The Koran, or Essays, Sentiments and Callimachies, etc. 1 vol. Wien, 1795. (Sammer.)

The Koran, etc. Wien, 1798. (Sammer). 12o, pp. 275.

Gleanings from the works of Laurence Sterne. Campe’s edition. Nürnberg and New York. Without date.

ii.     German Translations of Sterne.

a. Tristram Shandy

Das Leben und die Meynungen des Herrn Tristram Shandy. Berlin und Stralsund, 1763. Parts I-VI. Translation by Johann Friedrich Zückert.

The same. Parts VII-VIII. 1763.

The same. Part IX (spurious). 1767.

Das Leben und die Meynungen des Herrn Tristram Shandy. Nach einer neuen Uebersetzung. Berlin und Stralsund, 1769–1772. (Lange.) A revised edition of the previous translation.

Das Leben und die Meinungen des Herrn Tristram Shandy aus dem Englischen übersetzt, nach einer neuen Uebersetzung auf Anrathen des Hrn. Hofrath Wielands verfasst. Neun Theile. Berlin, 1774.


Another edition of the same translation.

Tristram Schandi’s Leben und Meynungen. Hamburg, 1774. Bey Bode. Translation by J. J. C. Bode. Nine parts. I, pp. 185; II, pp. 191; III, pp. 210; IV, pp. 226; V, pp. 166; VI, pp. 164; VII, pp. 148; VIII, pp. 144; IX, pp. 128.

The same. Zweite verbesserte Auflage. Hamburg, 1776.

The same, 1777.

The same, 1778.

The same. Nachdruck, Hanau und Höchst. 1776–7.

The same. Nachdruck. Berlin, 1778.

Tristram Shandy’s Leben und Meinungen, von neuem verdeutscht. 3 vols. Leipzig, 1801. (Linke.) A revision of Bode’s translation by J. L. Benzler.

The same. Hannover. 1810. (Hahn.)

Leben und Meinungen des Tristram Shandy von Sterne—neu übertragen von W. H., Magdeburg, 1831. Sammlung der ausgezeichnetsten humoristischen und komischen Romane des Auslands in neuen zeitgemässen Bearbeitungen. Bd. X, I, pp. 188; II, pp. 192; III, pp. 151; IV, pp. 168; V, pp. 256; V, pp. 257–264, Ueber Laurence Sterne und dessen Werke. Another revision of Bode’s work.

Tristram Shandy’s Leben und Meinungen, von Lorenz Sterne, aus dem Englischen von Dr. G. R. Bärmann. Berlin, 1856.

Tristram Shandy’s Leben und Meinungen, aus dem Englischen übersetzt von F. A. Gelbcke. Nos. 96–99 of “Bibliothek ausländischer Klassiker.” Leipzig, 1879. (Bibliographisches Institut.)

Leben und Meinungen des Herrn Tristram Shandy. Deutsch von A. Seubert. Leipzig, 1881. (Reclam.)

b. The Sentimental Journey

Yorick’s emfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien. Hamburg und Bremen, 1768. Translated by J. J. C. Bode.

The same, with parts III, IV (Stevenson’s continuation), 1769.

The same. Hamburg und Bremen, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1776, 1777, 1804.

The same. Mannheim. 1780.

The same. Leipzig, 1797, 1802. (Rabenhorst.)


Versuch über die menschliche Natur in Herrn Yoricks, Verfasser des Tristram Shandy Reisen durch Frankreich und Italien. Braunschweig, 1769. (Fürstliche Waisenhausbuchhandlung), pp. 248. Translation by Hofprediger Mittelstedt.

Herrn Yoricks, Verfasser des Tristram Shandy, Reisen durch Frankreich und Italien, als ein Versuch über die menschliche Natur. Braunschweig, 1769. Is a second edition of the former.

The same, 1774.

Yoricks empfindsame Reise von neuem verdeutscht. 2 vols. Leipzig, 1801. A revision of Bode’s work by Johann Lorenz Benzler.

Empfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien übersetzt von Ch. C. Meissner. Zwickau, 1825. (Schumann.)

Eine Empfindsame Reise . . . übersetzt, mit Lebensbeschreibung des Autors und erläuternden Bemerkungen von H. A. Clemen. Essen, 1827.

A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. Yorick’s Empfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien, mit erläuternden Anmerkungen von W. Gramberg. 8o. Oldenburg, 1833. (Schulze.) Since both titles are given, it is not evident whether this is a reprint, a translation, or both.

Laurence Sterne—Yoricks Empfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien. Halle. (Hendel.) A revision of Bode’s translation, with a brief introductory note by E. Suchier.

Yorick’s empfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien, übersetzt von A. Lewald. Pforzheim, 1842.

Yorick’s empfindsame Reise, übersetzt von K. Eitner. Bibliothek ausländischer Klassiker. Bd. 75. Hildburghausen.

Empfindsame Reise durch Frankreich und Italien Deutsch von Friedrich Hörlek. Leipzig, 1859. (Reclam.)

c. Letters, Sermons and Miscellaneous

Briefe von (Yorick) Sterne an seine Freunde Nebst seiner 190 Geschichte eines Ueberrocks, Aus dem Englischen. Hamburg, 1775. (Bohn.) Pp. VIII, 144.

Yorick’s Briefe an Elisa. Hamburg, 1775. (Bohn.) Pp. XX, 75.

Briefe von Elisa an Yorick. Aus dem Engl. Hamburg, 1775. Pp. XVI, 64.

Translation of the above three probably by Bode.

Briefwechsel mit Elisen und seinen übrigen Freunden. Leipzig, 1775. (Weidmann.)

Elisens ächte Briefe an Yorik. Leipzig, 1775.

Briefe an seine vertrauten Freunde nebst Fragment im Geschmack des Rabelais und einer von ihm selbst verfassten Nachricht von seinem Leben und seiner Familie, herausgegeben von seiner Tochter Madame Medalle. Leipzig, 1776. (Weidmann.) Pp. XXVIII, 391. Translation probably by Chr. Felix Weisse.

The same. 1785.

Yorick’s Briefe an Elisa. Leipzig, 1785. (Göschen.) A new edition of Bode’s rendering.

Briefe von Lorenz Sterne, dem Verfasser von Yorik’s empfindsame Reisen. Englisch und Deutsch zum erstenmal abgedruckt. London, 1787. Is probably the same as “Hinterlassene Briefe. Englisch und Deutsch.” Leipzig, 1787. (Nauck.)

Predigten von Laurenz Sterne oder Yorick. Zürich. I, 1766; II, 1767. (Fuesslin und Comp.)

The same, III, under the special title “Reden an Esel.”

Predigten. Zürich, 1773. (Orell.)

Neue Sammlung von Predigten: Leipsig, 1770. (Hahn.) Translation by Prof. A. E. Klausing.

Reden an Esel. Mit Einleitung und Anmerkungen. Hamburg, 1795. (Herold, jun.)

Reden an Esel, von Lorenz Sterne. Thorn, 1795.

Lorenz Sterne des Menschenkenners Benutzung einiger Schriftsteller. Basel, 1781. (Flick.) An abridged edition of his sermons.


Buch der Predigten oder 100 Predigten und Reden aus den verschiedenen Zeiten by R. Nesselmann. Elbing, 1868. Contains Sterne’s sermon on St. Luke X, 23–37.

Yorick’s Nachgelassene Werke. Leipzig, 1771. Translation of the Koran, by J. G. Gellius.

Der Koran, oder Leben und Meinungen des Tria Juncta in Uno, M. N. A. Ein hinterlassenes Werk von dem Verfasser des Tristram Shandy. Hamburg, 1778. Translation probably by Bode.

Yorick’s Betrachtungen über verschiedene wichtige und angenehme Gegenstände. Frankfurt und Leipzig, 1769.

Betrachtungen über verschiedene Gegenstände. Braunschweig, 1789. (Schulbuchhandlung.)

Nachlese aus Laurence Sterne’s Werken in’s Deutsche übersetzt von Julius Voss. Thorn, 1854.

French translations of Sterne’s works were issued at Bern and Strassburg, and one of his “Sentimental Journey” at Kopenhagen and an Italian translation of the same in Dresden (1822), and in Prague (1821).

iii.    Miscellaneous Authorities.

The following list contains (a) books or articles treating particularly, or at some length, the relation of German authors to Laurence Sterne; (b) books of general usefulness in determining literary conditions in the eighteenth century, to which frequent reference is made; (c) periodicals which are the sources of reviews and criticisms cited in the text. Other works to which only incidental reference is made are noted in the text itself.

Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek. Berlin und Stettin, 1765–92. Edited by Nicolai.

Allgemeine Litteratur Zeitung. Jena, Leipzig, Wien, 1781.

Almanach der deutschen Musen. Leipzig, 1770–1781. Edited by Chr. Heinr. Schmid.

Altonaer Reichs-Postreuter. 1750. Editor 1772–1786 was Albrecht Wittenberg.

Altonischer Gelehrter Mercurius. Altona, 1763–1772.

Appell, Joh. Wilhelm. Werther und Seine Zeit. 4 Aufl. Oldenburg, 1896.


Auserlesene Bibliothek der neuesten deutschen Litteratur. Lemgo, 1772–1778.

Baker, Thomas Stockham. The Influence of Laurence Sterne upon German Literature. In Americana Germanica. Vol. II, No. 4, pp. 41–56.

Bauer, F. Sternescher Humor in Immermanns Münchhausen. Programm. Wien, 1896.

Bauer, F. Ueber den Einfluss Laurence Sternes auf Chr. M. Wieland. Programm. Karlsbad. 1898.

Behmer, Karl August. Laurence Sterne und C. M. Wieland. Forschungen zur neueren Literaturgeschichte, No. 9 München, 1899. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung fremder Einflüsse auf Wielands Dichtungen.

Berlinische Monatsschrift, 1783–1796, edited by Gedike and Biester.

Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften und der freyen Künste. Leipzig, 1757–65. 12 vol. I-IV edited by Nicolai and Mendelssohn, V-XII edited by Chr. Felix Weisse.

J. J. C. Bode’s Literarisches Leben. Nebst dessen Bildniss von Lips. Berlin, 1796. First published in Vol. VI of Bode’s translation of Montaigne, “Michael Montaigne’s Gedanken und Meinungen.” Berlin, 1793–1795. The life of Bode is Vol. VI, pp. III-CXLIV.

Bremisches Magazin zur Ausbreitung der Wissenschaften, Künste und Tugend. Bremen und Leipzig, 1757–66.

Büchner, Alex. Sternes Coran und Makariens Archiv. Goethe ein Plagiator? Morgenblatt, No. 39, p. 922 f.

Czerny, Johann, Sterne, Hippel und Jean Paul. Berlin, 1904.

Deutsche Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften. Halle, 1767–1771. Edited by Klotz.

Deutsches Museum. Leipzig, 1776–1788. Edited by Dohm and Boie and continued to 1791 as Neues deutsches Museum.

Ebeling, Friedrich W. Geschichte der komischen Literatur in Deutschland während der 2. Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig, 1869. 3 vols.

Elze, Frederich Karl. Die englische Sprache und Litteratur in Deutschland. Dresden, 1864.


Erfurtische Gelehrte Zeitung. Erfurt, 1781–1796.

Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen. Frankfurt. Published under several titles, 1736–1790. Editors, Merck, Bahrdt and others.

Gervinus, G. G. Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung. Edited by Karl Bartsch. 5 vols. Leipzig, 1871–74.

Goedeke, Karl. Grundriss zur Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung. Dresden, 1884–1900.

Gothaische gelehrte Zeitungen. Gotha, 1774–1804. Published and edited by Ettinger.

Göttingische Anzeigen von Gelehrten Sachen 1753. Michaelis was editor 1753–1770, then Christian Gottlob Heyne.

Hamburger Adress-Comptoir Nachrichten, 1767. Edited by Joh. Wm. Dumpf.

Hamburgischer unpartheyischer Correspondent. Full title, Staats- und Gelehrte Zeitung des Hamburgischen unpartheyischen Correspondenten. Editor, 1763–3, Bode; 1767–1770, Albrecht Wittenberg.

Hédouin, Alfred. Goethe plagiaire de Sterne, in Le Monde Maçonnique. July, 1863.

Heine, Carl. Der Roman in Deutschland von 1774 bis 1778. Halle, 1892.

Hettner, Hermann. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im achtzehnten Jahrhundert. 4te Auflage. Braunschweig, 1893–94. This is the third division of his Literaturgeschichte des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts.

Hillebrand, Joseph. Die deutsche Nationalliteratur seit dem Anfange des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, besonders seit Lessing bis auf die Gegenwart. 2te Ausgabe. Hamburg und Gotha, 1850.

Hirsching, Friedr. Carl Gottlob. Historisch-litterarisches Handbuch berühmter und denkwürdiger Personen, welche in dem 18. Jahrhundert gelebt haben. Vol. XIII. Leipzig, 1809.

Jenaische Zeitungen von gelehrten Sachen. Jena, 1765–1781.

Jördens, Karl Heinrich. Lexikon deutscher Dichter und Prosaisten. Leipzig, 1806–1811.


Koberstein, Karl August. Geschichte der deutschen Nationalliteratur. Leipzig, 1872–73.

Koch, Max. Ueber die Beziehungen der englischen Literatur zur deutschen im 18. Jahrhundert. Leipzig, 1883.

Kurz, Heinrich. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur. Leipzig, 1876–81.

Leipziger Musen-Almanach. Leipzig, 1776–87. Editor, 1776–78, Friedrich Traugott Hase.

Longo, Joseph. Laurence Sterne und Johann Georg Jacobi. Programm. Krems, 1898.

Magazin der deutschen Critik. Halle, 1772–1776. Edited by Gottlob Benedict Schirach.

Mager, A. Wielands Nachlass des Diogenes von Sinope und das englische Vorbild. Abhandlung. Marburg, 1890.

Meusel, Johann Georg. Das gelehrte Deutschland, oder Lexicon der jetzt lebenden deutschen Schriftsteller. Lemgo, 1796–1806.

Meusel, Johann Georg. Lexicon der von 1750 bis 1800 verstorbenen teutschen Schriftsteller. Leipzig, 1802–16.

Neue Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek. Kiel, 1793–1800. Edited by Bohn. Berlin und Stettin, 1801–1805. Edited by Nicolai.

Neue Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften und der freyen Künste. Leipzig, 1765–1806. Edited first by Chr. Felix Weisse, then by the publisher Dyk.

Neue Critische Nachrichten. Greifswald, 1750–1807. Editor from 1779 was Georg Peter Möller, professor of history at Greifswald.

Neues Bremisches Magazin. Bremen, 1766–1771.

Neue Hallische Gelehrte Zeitung. Founded by Klotz in 1766, and edited by him 1766–71, then by Philipp Ernst Bertram, 1772–77.

Neue litterarische Unterhaltungen. Breslau, bey Korn der ä 1774–75.

Neue Mannigfaltigkeiten. Eine gemeinnützige Wochenschrift, follows Mannigfaltigheiten which ran from Sept., 1769 to May, 1773, and in June 1773, the new series began. Berlin. Vol. II, pp. 97–106. Life of Sterne.


Neue Zeitungen von Gelehrten Sachen. 1715–1785. At the latter date the title was changed to Neue Litteratur Zeitung. Leipzig.

Schmidt, Julian. Bilder aus dem geistigen Leben unserer Zeit. Leipzig, 1870. Vol. IV, 1875. Vol. IV, pp. 272 ff, Studien über den Englischen Roman.

Schmidt, Julian. Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur von Leibnitz bis auf unsere Zeit. Berlin, 1886–96.

Schmidt, Julian. Geschichte des geistigen Lebens in Deutschland von Leibnitz bis auf Lessing’s Tod, 1681–1781. Leipzig, I, 1862; II, 1864.

Schröder, Lexicon Hamburgischer Schriftsteller. Hamburg, 1851–83, 8 vols.

Springer, Robert. Essays zur Kritik und zur Goethe-Literatur. “War Goethe ein Plagiarius Lorenz Sternes?” Minden i. W., 1885.

Teutscher Mercur. Weimar, 1773–89. And Neuer deutscher Merkur. Weimar, 1790–1810. Edited by Wieland, Reinhold and Böttiger.

Unterhaltungen. Hamburg bey Bock, 1767–70. Edited by J. J. Eschenburg, I-IV; Albrecht Wittenberg, V; Christoph Dan. Ebeling, VI-X.

(Der) Wandsbecker Bothe. Edited by Matthias Claudius. Wandsbeck, 1771–75.



Abbt, 43.

Abel, J. F., 170.

Addison, 157.

Alberti, 26, 27, 46.

Behrens, Johanna Friederike, 87.

Benzler, J. L., 61, 62.

Blankenburg, 5, 8, 139.

Bock, Joh. Chr., 93, 127, 129133, 136.

Bode, J. J. C., 15, 16, 24, 34, 37, 38, 4062, 67, 76, 90, 94, 106, 115.

Bodmer, 75.

Boie, 59, 131.

Bondeli, Julie v., 30, 31.

Bonstetten, 89.

Böttiger, C. A., 38, 4244, 48, 49, 52, 58, 7781.

Brandon, J., 82.

Brockes, 37.

Burney, Frances, 37.

Burton, 77.

Butler, 6, 29.

Campe, J. H., 43, 164166.

Carr, John, 14.

Cervantes, 6, 23, 26, 60, 168, 178.

Chappelle, 35, 112.

Claudius, 59, 133, 157158.

Combe, Wm., 69.

Defoe, 3.

Denis, 10, 75, 166.

Draper, Eliza, 6470, 89, 114, 176.

Eberhard, 5.

Ebert, 10, 26, 4446, 59, 62.

Eckermann, 98, 101, 104.

Einsiedel, 59.

Eschenburg, 2.

Ferber, J. C. C., 84.

Ferriar, 77, 78.

Fielding, 4, 6, 10, 23, 58, 60, 96, 145, 154.

Forster, 12.

Frenais, 60.

Garrick, 66, 161.

Garve, 22, 135.

Gay, 92.

Gebler, 90.

Gellert, 32, 37, 120.

Gellius, 76, 92.

Gerstenberg, 59.

Gleim, 2, 3, 59, 8587, 112, 152.

Göchhausen, 88, 140144, 181.

Göchhausen, Fräulein v., 59.

Goeckingk, 1623.

Goethe, 40, 41, 59, 75, 77, 85, 91, 97109, 126, 153, 156, 167, 168, 170, 180.

Goeze, 27, 48.

Goldsmith, 10, 98.

Göschen, Georg. Joachim, 134135.

Griffith, Richard, 7475.

Grotthus, Sara v., 4041.

Hamann, 28, 29, 59, 69, 71, 97, 153.

Hartknoch, 28, 32, 97.

Hebbel, 88, 153.

Hedemann, 136138.

Heine, H., 103.

Heinse, 152.


Herder, 57, 8, 28, 29, 32, 59, 97, 99, 156.

Herder, Caroline Flachsland, 89, 99, 152.

Hermes, 2, 8, 109.

Hippel, 6, 59, 101, 155.

Hofmann, J. C., 88.

Hopffgarten, 93.

Hopfner, 69.

Hume, 63.

Ireland, 80.

Jacobi, 59, 8590, 112114, 131, 136, 139, 142, 143.

Jung-Stilling, 99.

Kästner, 30.

Kaufmann, 88.

Kirchberger, 30.

Kirsten, 93.

Klausing, A. E., 72.

Klopstock, 37, 51, 59.

Klotz, 21, 114.

Knebel, 109, 152.

Knigge, 91, 93, 110, 154, 166.

Kölbele, 52.

Koran, 7476, 92, 95, 103108, 153.

Kotzebue, 13334.

Krummacher, 153.

Lenz, 152.

Lessing, 2428, 4046, 59, 62, 77, 97, 109, 156.

Leuchsenring, 88.

Lichtenberg, 4, 78, 84, 15860.

Liscow, 3, 24.

Matthison, 60, 89, 152.

de Medalle, Lydia Sterne, 64, 68, 69.

Medicus, Wilhelm Ludwig, 69.

Mendelssohn, 24, 43, 109, 110.

Merck, 89, 99, 139.

Meyer, Aug. Wilh., 83.

Miller, J. M., 168, 170, 173, 180.

Mittelstedt, 4647, 5557, 115.

Montaigne, 60.

Moritz, K. P., 168.

Möser, 7, 166.

Müchler, K. F., 79.

Murray, Rev. James, 71.

Musäus, 10, 91, 138, 152, 153, 158.

Nicolai, 27, 40, 43, 77, 78, 110; Sebaldus Nothanker, 6, 88, 110, 150.

Nicolay, Ludwig Heinrich v., 158.

Nonne, 93.

Opitz, Christian, 127.

Ossian, 10.

Paterson, Sam’l, 79.

Percy, Bishop, 2, 10.

Raabe, Wilhelm, 153.

Rabelais, 60.

Rabenau, A. G. F., 138.

Rahmel, A. W. L., 166.

Ramler, 90.

Richardson, 4, 10, 31, 43, 96, 179.

Richter, Jean Paul, 75, 91, 155.

Riedel, 2930, 32, 54, 109, 125.

la Roche, Sophie, 139.

Rousseau, 4, 71.

Sattler, J. P., 8.

Schiller, 135, 153.

Schink, J. F., 8082.

Schirach, 109.

Schmidt, Klamer, 60.

Schubart, 107.

Schummel, 59, 93, 114129, 136, 140.

Schwager, 138.

Seidelinn, 153.

Shadwell, 25.

Smollett, 63.

Sonnenfels, 125.

Stephanie, d. j., 153.

Stevenson, J. H., 4453, 57, 64, 81, 105.


Stolberg, 61.

Sturz, 160162.

Swift, 69, 146, 157, 160.

v. Thümmel, 93, 135, 155.

Timme, 168179.

Usteri, 30.

Wagner, H. L., 41, 157.

Wegener, 150151.

Weisse, Chr. Felix, 68.

Wezel, 110, 138, 144150, 179181.

Wieland, 10, 14, 31, 32, 42, 59, 61, 73, 90, 9399, 103, 146, 156, 181.

Wilkes, 64.

Wittenberg, 53, 87.

v. Wolzogen, 153.

Young, 7, 10, 149150.

Zelter, 98, 102.

Ziegler, Louise v. (Lila), 89.

Zimmermann, 31, 59.

Zückert, 1218, 22, 31, 32, 37, 5860, 99.

Errors and Inconsistencies

German text is unchanged unless there was an unambiguous error, or the text could be checked against other sources. Most quoted material is contemporary with Sterne; spellings such as “bey” and “Theil” are standard.

Missing letters or punctuation marks are genuinely absent, not merely invisible. Ellipsis (. . .) is shown as printed, as is any adjoining punctuation.

The variation between “title page” and “title-page” is unchanged. Punctuation of “ff” is unchanged; at mid-sentence there is usually no following period. Hyphenization of phrases such as “a twelve-year old” is consistent.

The Bibliography is shown in the Table of Contents as “Chapter VIII”, but was printed without a chapter header.