"There are others again, who will draw a man's character from no other helps in the world, but merely from his evacuations; --but this often gives a very incorrect out-line,--unless, indeed, you take a sketch of his repletions too; and by correcting one drawing from the other, compound one good figure out of them both. "
— Sterne, Laurence (1713-1768)
There are others again, who will draw a man's character from no other helps in the world, but merely from his evacuations; --but this often gives a very incorrect out-line,--unless, indeed, you take a sketch of his repletions too; and by correcting one drawing from the other, compound one good figure out of them both.
I should have no objection to this method, but that I think it must smell too strong of the lamp,--and be render'd still more operose, by forcing you to have an eye to the rest of his Non-Naturals. -- Why the most natural actions of a man's life should be call'd his Non-Naturals,-- is another question.
There are others, fourthly, who disdain every one of these expedients;--not from any fertility of his own, but from the various ways of doing it, which they have borrowed from the honourable devices which the Pentagraphic Brethren of the brush have shewn in taking copies. --These, you must know, are your great historians.
One of these you will see drawing a full-length character against the light ;-- that's illiberal,--dishonest,--and hard upon the character of the man who sits.
Others, to mend the matter, will make a drawing of you in the Camera;--that is most unfair of all,--because, there you are sure to be represented in some of your most ridiculous attitudes.
To avoid all and every one of these errors, in giving you my uncle Toby's character, I am determin'd to draw it by no mechanical help whatever;--nor shall my pencil be guided by any one wind instrument which ever was blown upon, either on this, or on the other side of the Alps;--nor will I consider either his repletions or his discharges,-- or touch upon his Non-Naturals;--but, in a word, I will draw my uncle Toby's character from his Hobby-Horse.
(pp. 165-172; Norton, 53-5)
See Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, 9 vols. (London: Printed for D. Lynch, 1760-1767). <Link to ECCO><Link to 1759 York edition in ECCO>
First two volumes available in ECCO-TCP: <Vol. 1><Vol. 2>. Most text drawn from second (London) edition <Link to LION>.
For vols. 3-4, see ESTC T14705 <R. and J. Dodsley, 1761>. For vols. 5-6, see ESTC T14706 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1762>. For vols. 7-8, see ESTC T14820 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehont, 1765>. For vol. 9, <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1767>.
Reading in Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism, Ed. Howard Anderson (New York: Norton, 1980).