THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF TRISTRAM SHANDY, GENTLEMAN by Martin Rowson

THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF TRISTRAM SHANDY, GENTLEMAN

KIRKUS REVIEW

Rowson's graphic novel of Laurence Sterne's famous "cock and bull'' story (often called the first modern novel) will disappoint readers looking for a "Classic Comics'' crib version. Which is, of course, the very strength of this wickedly inventive re-creation of Sterne's notoriously self-reflexive book. Employing a visual style that blends Hogarth with Gilbert Shelton (of Furry Freak Bros. fame), Rowson himself shows up on the page for some meta-level commentary of his own, and reimagines scenes from Sterne in the styles of Drer, Beardsley, Grosz, and George Harriman, not to mention one from Oliver Stone's movie version. Rowson also rewrites key passages in the manner of Martin Amis, Raymond Chandler, and Garcia Marquez (among others). Tackling such an inherently unadaptable novel, Rowson nevertheless selects many of the most memorable sections for extended visualizations: Tristram's birth and naming, Uncle Toby's famous wound and hobbyhorse, and the history of family noses. All provide occasion for Sterne's bawdy, which Rowson makes somewhat more explicit. As critical commentary and scholarly play, this rude and splendid comic book will delight true Shandeans.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1997
ISBN: 0-87951-768-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997




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