The culmination of more than forty years of research
"Establishes a newly authoritative and fully documented text of all remaining letters, based on fresh examination of the relevant manuscript and early printed sources and implementing, with unflagging rigor, state of the art editorial practice. Annotation is clear, astute, and comprehensive, and draws with exemplary command on the mass of biographical, bibliographical, and other scholarship that has transformed our understanding of Sterne and the culture he inhabited."--Thomas Keymer, University of Toronto
"The editors have done a splendid job of annotating the letters with clarity while maintaining the highest levels of scholarship and learning. Their introduction is clear, candid, thoughtful, and informative. Their treatment of the vexed problems of the edition is a model of intelligent modern editing practice."--Robert Folkenflik, University of California, Irvine (emeritus)
These two volumes, the seventh and eighth in the heralded Florida Edition of the Works of Laurence Sterne, offer the first collection of Sterne's letters in seventy-five years. Thirty new letters have been added, and all have been carefully and precisely reedited, making this the most accurate edition of his letters ever produced.
The correspondence is thoroughly keyed to Sterne's published output, much of which has previously been edited by Melvyn New. New and coeditor Peter de Voogd also make major use of Arthur Cash's landmark biography of Sterne. The result is a work that securely establishes the literary as well as biographical significance of Sterne's letters.
Sterne remains one of the towering figures of eighteenth-century life and literature, and a continuing influential presence in the canon of modern western fiction. Among those who have praised his writings are Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Salman Rushdie, Gabriel García Márquez, Vladimir Nabokov, Milan Kundera, and most recently, the Turkish Nobel Prize recipient Orhan Pamuk.
Melvyn New is professor emeritus of English at the University of Florida. Peter de Voogd is professor emeritus of English at the University of Utrecht.
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"The most noteworthy scholarly editions this year were the 7th and 8th volumes of The Florida Edition of the Works of Laurence Sterne. With these volumes, the Florida edition of Sterne's writing--the standard for the field--has now moved from the fiction and sermons to the letters. Volume 7 covers 1739-64, and Volume 8 covers 1765-68. Edited by Melvyn New and Peter de Voogd, the volumes should replace Lewis Perry Curtis's Clarendon edition of Sterne's letters from 1935. New and Voogd have discovered twenty-five new letters, fleshed out the annotation with information from Arthur Cash's two-volume biography (Methuen, 1975, 1985), and paid vigorous attention to the vagaries of Sterne's hand. The editorial principles are scrupulous, the scholarship impeccable. We are in debt to New and his various collaborators for putting together a scholarly Sterne for our age." Studies in English Literature 50:3