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Battestin, The Providence of Wit (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 197–200; Melvyn New, ‘Sterne, Warburton, and the Burden of Exuberant Wit’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 15 (1982), 245–74; Jonathan Lamb, ‘The Job Controversy, Sterne, and the Question of Allegory’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 24 (1990), 1–19. 16. John Tillard, A Reply to Mr. Warburton’s Appendix, in his Second Volume of the Divine Legation of Moses (1742), 167. 33 3 JUDITH HAWLEY Tristram Shandy, learned wit, and Enlightenment knowledge Thus,- - -thus my fellow labourers and associates in this great harvest of our learning, now ripening before our eyes; thus it is, by slow steps of casual increase, that our knowledge physical, metaphysical, physiological, polemical, nautical, mathematical, ænigmatical, technical, biographical, romantical, chemical, and obstetrical, with fifty other branches of it, (most of ’em ending, as these do, in ical) have, for these two last centuries and more, gradually been creeping upwards towards that Ακμη` of their perfections, from which, if we may form a conjecture from the advances of these last seven years, we cannot possibly be far off.

I shall never again, be able to tickle it off as I have done … — Pray, Mr. Such a one, Who held forth last Sunday? Doctor Clark, I trow, says one. Pray what Doctor Clark, quoth a second? Why, Homenas’s Doctor Clark, quoth a third. O Rare Homenas! cries a fourth … ’twil be all over with me before G-d,— (1089–90) Even while they abjure such wholesale plagiarism, however, both Swift and Sterne make teasing detailed resort, as a conscious and essential part of their ironic method, to overt allusion, covert allusion, and occasional local verbal theft.

Writing was hard, he told his friend John HallStevenson, and what he did manage only ‘so so’ (Letters 290). When the fifth instalment of Tristram Shandy, again dedicated to William Pitt, appeared 16 Laurence Sterne’s life, milieu, and literary career in late January 1767 (to the usual mixture of extravagant praise and indignant censure), it consisted of a single volume, instead of the usual two. 16 That he did not intend to continue in the short term is certain. As far back as July 1766, Sterne had mentioned plans for a four-volume work, and by the winter of 1766–7, this had become so firm in his mind that he not only referred to it by its eventual title, A Sentimental Journey, but was busily soliciting subscriptions.

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